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MAGMA

Zeuhl • France


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Magma biography
MAGMA is a progressive group led by drummer/composer/vocalist Christian VANDER that has been active in the 'classic period' and in the 21th century. The music of MAGMA is often categorized as 'Zeuhl' (which means 'celestical' of 'heavenly' in Kobaïan, MAGMA's own language). The band doesn't clearly fit in any other progressive subgenre, though avant-prog would qualify.

Swirling riffs in odd time signatures, theatrical choir arrangements, heavy and distorted pulsing bass guitar, bombastic and minimalistic (sometimes both at the same time), dark and brooming, adventurous and angelic, jazzy or classical, but always with the highly innovative and original drums of founder and main composer Christian VANDER. The music of MAGMA is adopted by the progressive rock movement, though even for progressive standards it is very hard to get into because of its 'other worldly sound' and its extended compositions of often more then thirty minutes. The band has had almost no connection whatsoever with other bands of the progressive genre, though in France it would prove to be a big inspiration for other Fusion and Zeuhl bands. It is often though that the modern classical music of Carl ORFF (for instance Carmina Burana) must have been a big influence to MAGMA. VANDER himself has claimed on several occasions that his main influence was the jazz saxophone player John COLTRANE, and listening to COLTRANE's version of 'My favorite things' we do find a hint to what was to become the Zeuhl genre. Legend goes that MAGMA was formed after a vision that was revealed in a dream of Christian VANDER about a spiritual and ecological future for mankind. This vision would influence the three different multi-part saga's, namely the Kobaïan saga (debut and 1001 Centigrates), the Köhntarkösz triology (Kohntarkosz Anteria or K.A., Köhntarkösz and Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré) and the Theusz Hamtaahk triology (Theusz Hamtaahk, Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh or M.D.K and Wurdah Ïtah). The third studio-album of MAGMA, M.D.K., is often seen as the genre defining Zeuhl album, whereas the first two MAGMA albums have stronger jazzrock/fusion leanings and less Orffian choir arrangements.

Being heavily disturbed by his vision, classically trained drummer and composer Christian VANDER formed the first version of MAGMA in 1969 in Paris as a means to give musical expression to his fears for humanity. With a small list of fusion and rhythm and blues musicians, among them some wind-players and one of MAGMA's mai...
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Mekanik Destruktiw KommandohMekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$17.11
$32.41 (used)
Floh Essi; Ektah (45-RPM)Floh Essi; Ektah (45-RPM)
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$7.02
$22.53 (used)
TrilogyTrilogy
Box set
Snapper UK 2012
Audio CD$12.07
$18.74 (used)
Slag tanzSlag tanz
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Audio CD$8.91
$8.90 (used)
Emehntehtt-ReEmehntehtt-Re
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Imports 2014
Audio CD$12.88
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Felicite ThoszFelicite Thosz
Import
Seventh Records 2013
Audio CD$12.90
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1001° Centigrades1001° Centigrades
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$19.98
Mekanik Destruktiw KommandohMekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$19.95
$17.56 (used)
Wurdah itahWurdah itah
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$15.49
$32.41 (used)
Kohntarkosz Anteria K.A.Kohntarkosz Anteria K.A.
Import
Seventh Rec 2013
Audio CD$12.91
$11.18 (used)
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MAGMA shows & tickets


  • Silesia in Love 2015 on 4 Jul 2015
  • Oeno Music Festival on 10 Jul 2015
  • Zappanale #26 on 16 Jul 2015
  • 2Days Prog +1 on 4 Sep 2015
  • THE ENDLESS TOUR on 10 Oct 2015
  • Magma at Palác Akropolis, Praha on 12 Oct 2015
  • Magma at Porgy & Bess, Vienna on 13 Oct 2015
  • Le Guess Who? Festival 2015 on 19 Nov 2015

MAGMA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGMA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 325 ratings
Magma (Kobaïa)
1970
4.13 | 310 ratings
1001° Centigrades
1971
4.30 | 685 ratings
Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
1973
4.10 | 355 ratings
Köhntarkösz
1974
4.20 | 252 ratings
Ẁurdah Ïtah (Christian Vander)
1974
3.75 | 296 ratings
Üdü Ẁüdü
1976
3.68 | 261 ratings
Attahk
1978
2.53 | 154 ratings
Merci
1984
3.81 | 82 ratings
Mëkanïk Kömmandöh
1989
4.30 | 486 ratings
K.A
2004
4.19 | 396 ratings
Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
2009
4.14 | 262 ratings
Félicité Thösz
2012

MAGMA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.44 | 181 ratings
Live/Hhaï (Köhntark)
1975
3.11 | 37 ratings
Inédits
1977
3.97 | 63 ratings
Retrospektïẁ III
1981
4.56 | 93 ratings
Retrospektïẁ I-II
1981
4.02 | 18 ratings
Concert 1992, Douarnenez:
1992
3.33 | 30 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
2.59 | 18 ratings
Concert 1971, Bruxelles - Théâtre 140
1996
4.40 | 20 ratings
Concert 1975, Toulouse - Théâtre Du Taur
1996
4.17 | 36 ratings
Concert 1976, Opéra De Reims
1996
4.25 | 42 ratings
BBC 1974 - Londres
1999
4.56 | 62 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie
2001
4.10 | 24 ratings
Bourges 1979
2008
3.19 | 12 ratings
Live In Tokyo
2009
4.02 | 22 ratings
Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974
2014

MAGMA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.40 | 20 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
4.34 | 34 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon
2001
4.37 | 45 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume I
2006
4.38 | 45 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume II
2006
4.79 | 54 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume III
2007
4.82 | 49 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume IV
2008
4.70 | 18 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Epok V
2013

MAGMA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 11 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes
1985
2.61 | 9 ratings
Kompila
1997
3.87 | 13 ratings
Simples
1998
1.95 | 13 ratings
Spiritual
2002
2.57 | 12 ratings
Über Kommandoh
2004
4.38 | 8 ratings
Archiw I & II
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mythes Et Legendes (Box Set)
2008
4.90 | 47 ratings
Studio Zünd
2009
3.26 | 8 ratings
Trilogy
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
45 Ans De Creation Hors des Sentiers Battus
2014

MAGMA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 5 ratings
Kobaia/Mûh
1970
5.00 | 1 ratings
Hamtaak / Tendeï Kobah
1971
4.33 | 6 ratings
Mekanïk Kommando / Klaus Kömbälad
1972
4.63 | 8 ratings
Mekanïk Machine/Köhntarkosz
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lïhns / Hhaï
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spiritual
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Retrovision
1981
2.29 | 7 ratings
Ooh Ooh Baby / Otis
1985
3.92 | 31 ratings
Floë Ëssi / Ëktah
1998
3.00 | 2 ratings
K.A - Extraits - Edition Radio
2004
4.00 | 24 ratings
Rïah Sahïltaahk
2014
4.18 | 31 ratings
Slaǧ Tanƶ
2015

MAGMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.18 | 31 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars There are several things that set this album apart from other Magma albums that I have heard. First and foremost is the amazing cymbal play of drummer extraordinaire, Christian Vander. Second is the way in which Magma have refined and mastered their delivery format for their stories from the world of Kobaia. And third is the way in which the long-time band members have mastered and refined their vocal instruments: Stella Vander, Isabelle Feuillebois and Herv' Aknin (and even Klaus Blasquiz, who does not appear on this album) are simply astounding. They are solid as rocks. They are so seasoned that it is hard to discern any flaws in their work. It must be so nice for band leader, Christian Vander, to have such companion/collaborators who seem so unwavering in their support and who are so dedicated to this form of music, to the vision of their band leader, as well as to the betterment of their own skills. While I have to admit that I find Slag Tanz slightly less engaging than Magma's previous recent studio releases, however, I find it hard to rate any modern recording of Magma's with anything less than five stars because the composition, performances, and recording/engineering is so consistently strong (even though many of the compositions were composed decades ago and have been performed live for years). It is my strong opinion that we music listeners are so very privileged to have the recordings and concert performances of an artist with such strong and independent vision who always composes and performs at the absolute highest levels every time (and, of course, demands the same of his collaborators).

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 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.18 | 31 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Deranged, overwhelming and pulsing with dark intent and ferocious intensity, Magma's `Slaǧ Tanƶ' is a twenty-one minute epic that leader Christian Vander and his Zeuhl brethren have been performing and refining live since 2009. Once again delivered in the Kobian language, it's brimming with the expected Magma ferocity and carefully executed musicianship, another bewildering extended piece that seamlessly weaves dark musical themes and intricate male/female vocal complexity together. It's exhausting in its shadowy, stalking ferocity yet reveals little fleeting traces of that impossibly beautiful, heartfelt delicateness that only Magma can balance so well.

Creeping from it's very first second, spectral piano and murmuring bass lurks behind skittering jazzy drum patters hiding dark intent waiting to be unleashed. Infernal choirs wail, each rapturous vocal proclamation returned with a crushing beat and discordant piano stabs. Trickles of electric piano, spirited female scat vocal interjections and dreamy sighs are merely a sickening tease of light and release. Pleading, comforting, swooning voices are consumed by heavy guitar snarls and thrashing drum spasms behind dank repetitive maddening bass bile that comes up in your throat. Shrieking mind-breaking maddening chants over infernal devilish piano wickedness drags you further into in the dirt, as despondent staccato piano over gothic drones finally slams the coffin lid closed.

Don't be alarmed by the seemingly short running time - this is an exhausting, draining experience that is completely paralysing, so full of intricate little details and complex variety that you could spend a lifetime trying to figure it all out. While this lacks the joyous gospel sophistication of their stunning previous work ` Félicité Thösz' (excluding the recent re- recording of an earlier work with `Rïah Sahïltaahk'), this is a return to the true dark side of Magma, sure to please the disciples of the most challenging works of this musical cult.

Hypnotic, powerful and more dynamic, complex and inspired than ever, over forty years into their career, and still no one can come close to offering the sort of intense experience Magma brings.

Four stars.

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 Attahk by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.68 | 261 ratings

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Attahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars The musical times were a-changin' and even the Kobaians were influenced by the heavy gravitational forces of the music industry. MAGMA had broken up for a year after "ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ" but Christian Vander decided to resurrect the band two years later with an entirely different lineup and with it an entirely different sound. Out of the thirteen musicians and vocalists to be on the previous album, only Vander himself, vocalist Klaus Blasquiz, vocalist Lisa Bois and keyboardist Benoît Widemann returned for the sixth MAGMA album ATTAHK. Out were Bernard Paganotti and Patrick Gauthier who left to form Weidorje as well as the enigmatic Jannick Top whose contribution was seemingly irreplaceable and the musical cast has been trimmed down to a mere eight performers. This is a strange album in the MAGMA discography as it seems utterly disjointed from the rest (still haven't heard "Merci" though.) Gone are many of the complexities from the first few albums and gone are the interesting developments of "ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ" and instead what we do get is a more watered down version of zeuhl mixed with a lot of more accessible musical styles.

A lot of this is a matter of personal taste, of course, but i just don't find this album as enchanting as the rest. Kobaian music, after all, isn't supposed to be designed for Earthly consumption. It is supposed to be alien and take you somewhere you never considered. ATTAHK never seems like it is going anywhere specific and randomly lollygags through a rather MAGMA-by-the-numbers approach of shortened takes on previous albums. Take the first track "The Last Seven Minutes" for example. What we get here is a zeuhlish take on funk where it sounds like Vander is trying to take his vocals to new levels. After several minutes of this funky zeuhl we get some of his most intense screeches and high pitched squeals ever. The only problem with this for me is that it ends up sounding like a cross between the high falsettos of Prince from the "Lovesexy" album mixed with the trills of an orgasmic Edith Piaf. It seems incessant at the end and i am left wondering just what he had in mind with this one.

For some reason i'm just not keen on this simplified version of MAGMA. I am hardly against pop music and when progressive pop works for whatever reason i am quite receptive but this album drifts hither and tither without developing those elements sufficiently. That said, this album isn't totally without its merits. It's really the first two tracks that turn me off totally, but starting with "Rindë" (which would be stolen and incorporated into "Ëmëhntëht-Ré" like tracks from other MAGMA albums) the pace picks up and although the tracks are short, sweet and to the point they at least sound more within the Kobaian universe of intergalactic Top 40 hits at least. There will be many familiar elements from the past only embellished with much more Vander falsetto squeals laced with healthy doses of funk, R&B, gospel and pop elements. My favorite track on here is the closing "Nono" which has a bass worthy of the departed Jannick Top being on board.

This is an album that is hard for me to get excited about but is an ok listen when all is said and done. Just expect a MAGMA lite and you won't be too disappointed. Definitely one of the weaker albums in the discography but this is MAGMA after all and even the bottom of the barrel has a lot of interest and worthy of adding to any collection. I personally like the album cover a lot but despite its über-hipness by H.R. Giger, the music just doesn't measure up to the expectations i had for it. As good as some of these tracks are it isn't quite the otherworldliness that the Kobaians have been so adept in spoiling us with. This MAGMA stream isn't exactly a steaming hot pyroclastic flow of originality laced with Kobaian litanies of tales of extraterrestrial phenomena but hardly a throwaway album either.

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 Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon by MAGMA album cover DVD/Video, 2001
4.34 | 34 ratings

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Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon
Magma Zeuhl

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars What's better than listening to an essential concert recording? Watching video footage of the same recording, of course.

It's rare that I recommend a live recording to newcomers to a band, but Magma is best heard live, and the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie happens to be one of the band's very best recordings.

Magma recorded these concerts after more than fifteen years of dormancy, so the fact that the band is so on point may come as a shock to listeners. The performances are passionate throughout while remaining technically flawless, and the recordings have a warmer feel to them than the band's Seventies material. Zeuhl has always been potentially somewhat off-putting to newcomers, but this (alongside some of the band's newer recordings K.A., Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré, and Félicité Thösz) is amongst the least intimidating recordings Magma has ever made, despite its length.

The fact that the material being performed here is essential in any case doesn't hurt. The band's best known album, Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh, is here, as are Ẁurdah Ïtah and the suite that gives the album its title (which still has yet to be released as a studio recording). All three rank among the band's very best compositions, and they are represented admirably here. The fact that this is the first recording in which all three (which are, as the title might indicate, three parts of a trilogy) can be heard performed by the same line-up doesn't hurt either, as it gives a consistency to the proceedings that cobbling the pieces together from different recordings would not have.

In short, this is essential for both interested newcomers and longtime devotees of the band. It's one of the best introductions to zeuhl I could imagine, and it's one of the high points of the genre. We can only hope that they give the Köhntarkösz trilogy the same treatment now that it's complete.

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 K.A by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.30 | 486 ratings

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K.A
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'K.A' - Magma (96/100)

I wasn't aware of Magma when K.A (otherwise known as Kohntarkosz Anteria came out in 2006, and even had I been, I doubt I would have been able to appreciate the magnitude and significance of their comeback. The overlords of Zeuhl had remained silent for decades; the interregnum between K.A and the infamous pop attempt Merci in 1984 had seen the emergence of plenty of would-be Zeuhl and otherwise Magma-influenced bands, but suspicious little from Vander and co. It's been over a decade now since K.A came out, and it still strikes me with a bit of amazement that Magma were able to go so long without releasing anything of substance, and return with their most beautiful, energetic and impressive, yet undeniably accessible album to date. Ranking it within Magma's own accomplishments isn't enough to testify to its quality however; this is one of the greatest albums I have had the pleasure of hearing, in Zeuhl, in avant-garde and progressive rock, in adventurous music in general. The prospect of comeback albums usually entails something half-baked and dated. A surprise achievement like K.A is virtually unheard of.

Calling it a true comeback might not be entirely accurate; band mastermind Christian Vander had written most of the music in the midst of Magma's most prolific and successful years. Why he decided to sit on the music for half a lifetime is beyond me; needless to say, it's a good thing he finally decided to let the cat out of the bag. K.A is a considerably livelier album than Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh or Kohntarkosz. Where M.D.K was slow to start, K.A hits its full stride in less than a minute; following a soft entrance, Magma lets loose a surge of cosmic chamber rock, replete with the feminine choral arrangements and cerebral grooves the band have earned their reputation on. In many ways, K.A is a manifestation of Magma at their most accessible. Without having streamlined or cheapened the depth, they distilled some of the more jarring elements of their execution, namely the dissonant antics and caterwauling. The screechy parts of Magma's sound were a large part of why it took me so long to warm up to them, even when their talent was readily apparent to me. The band's signature blend of alien operatic fusion will still likely make for some uneasy digestion for newcomers, but given that Magma are-- if nothing else-- known for their eldritch and challenging material, that comes with the territory.

I'll offer a lapse of my authority as a reviewer by openly admitting I have little idea what the concept or 'story' of Magma's music is all about, much less this particular chapter. From what I understand, it's some apocalyptic saga of the planet Kobaia; the French have always had a cunning grasp of sci-fi pulp and space opera. While M.D.K gave the martial impression of a fleet preparing for war, K.A is much more optimistic, as if the planet Kobaia were celebrating some unlikely victory. Although there's not a lot of semantic sense to be made from the Kobaian language, there is an expanse of feeling in the voices. Magma's vocal arrangements tend to hum around a repeated choral motif, with a lead voice guiding things along. In many ways, the stars of the show are the female voices. Stella Vander, Isabelle Feuillebois and Himiko Paganotti are quick to grab my attention, not by the strength or 'hook' of their melodies, but the wealth they've invested in their harmonies.

Magma love to turn to repetition when they've got a good thing going on-- a focus on melody may have served to wear the ideas out, but close attention reveals that the harmonies are constantly in motion. There are several times throughout the three movements where I noticed the band returning to, and completely refreshing a past motif by the merit of an added voice, a shift in focus, an ever-so-slight change in the harmony. Part of what sets has long set Magma apart from so many of their contemporaries (and inevitably, has made their style that much more alienating) is the sense that they don't dissociate the vocals from the composition. Where most rock n' rollers see vocals as a guide above the sea of instruments, the vocals here are another instrument.

Zeuhl has been a tricky thing for me to get into over the years. If the way I've fumbled through this review is any indicator, the genre itself is pretty hard to pin down, and virtually any discussion of Magma and their acolytes should come with the caveat that their music is not for the faint of heart. Regardless, I am incredibly glad I finally managed to get into their music. While their appeal baffled me throughout high school, I do wonder if I would have had an easier time getting into them had I been introduced via K.A. Even beyond the album's context as a 'comeback', this is Magma at some of their most inspired and passionate. Where other albums of theirs have usually demanded at least a few listens before I start to appreciate them, this one was love at first listen. And unlike so much of the instantly gratifying art out there, this album has never seen fit to lose its magic for me. The connection has only grown with the passing of seasons and subsequent listens. To be honest, it's rare that an album hits me with the emotional force of K.A. The three movements flow together virtually seamlessly; although my cynical side might like to criticize the third act for being a little more longwinded, less compelling than the first two, the journey Magma takes with this album feels just about flawless, if not in the perfect technical sense, then certainly in an emotional one.

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 Merci by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.53 | 154 ratings

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Merci
Magma Zeuhl

Review by coldwhitesky

4 stars When I first heard this album I was a bit put off, I didn't hate it, but it didn't really make me want to listen to it more. Maybe it was how the sound related in some way to music I've heard before that I didn't appreciate. Nonetheless as I kept growing so to did my perception of this music, although this album deviates from the celestial sound we know, It is ZEUHL. If you listen with an unbiased ear, you can feel an energy equal to that of previous material. For me MAGMA is about expanding what we already know, to think up new things and grow, to purify the soul and to enlighten the mind, this album does not deviate from that. Starting with Call From the Dark, the sound is quite familiar for its time, but with musicianship fitting for Magma. The lyrics deal with the feeling of being in love. The next track, Otis, is a tribute to Otis Redding. The melodies on this track are quite captivating, radiating beauty. Softer then what is typical of MAGMA, but rich nonetheless. The next track, Do the Music is much more familiar, Good drums, everything feels well tied together. I'd go as far as to say this track is one of my favorite by MAGMA. "Otis(ending)" is a short slowed down version of a melody in Otis, accompanied by an organ. The next track, "I Must Return" could almost be cheesy, but somehow MAGMA always adds that extra thing to make the music alive, so it escapes being cheesy. The lyrical content in this track deal with dying and the beyond, metaphysics, returning to the core. themes that seem to fit this kind of music. Eliphas Levi, the 6th track, is a calming 11 minute track with emphasis on Flute, Piano and vocals, I don't have much to say about it beyond that. The last track, "the Night We Died" starts with a Kobaian version of a melody in"I Must Return" accompanied by piano, then drifts into the rest of the song, which turns into something quite dissonant and ambient, The song title is fitting for a beautiful expression of death and life. To conclude, I think this album is quite underrated. When listening with an open mind and heart its easy to find substance here, but it definitely deviates from the MAGMA people are used to.

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 Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 685 ratings

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Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
Magma Zeuhl

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Generally considered the best, or at least definitive, Magma you won't find any disagreement from me.

MDK is a departure from their first albums which were more like jazz rock and moves into the genre of "Zeuhl". What exactly that is...I'd say it's best to just listen for yourself and give it a try, but for the sake of this review I'll just say MDK is symphonic, jazzy, prog rock in a made up language.

This made up language is common to almost all Magma albums, and while this is a hold up to some, I feel it's no different than scat singing: The words are not what matters, but the sound. The vocals, over lyrics, how it fits the music, which it does superbly. The vocals are orchestral, intense, often crazy, but passionate and emotive. Which is what can be said of the album album. It is undeniably insane, ridiculous and over the top but it's equally passionate and emotive. This is an intense album without doubt. Oh, and sure I know there is a story to this album and Magma in general, of which we know some details, but frankly I don't bother and just enjoy the music.

The album has a great flow to it as the songs move seamlessly, it is more of an overall than individual song experience, but some standouts in my book are Hortz Fur Dëhn Stekëhn Ẁest, Da Zeuhl Ẁortz Mëkanïk and Mëkanïk Kömmandöh.

So, there's not much else to say about this album and no better way to understand it than trying it yourself. Just take it for what it is and you will find this is an ambitious, innovative, fun, powerful album packed with feeling, (something I think often lacks in prog, much as I love prog) superb song writing, and Vander's epic drumming. Operatic classical mixed with jazz and built in a prog rock style, this is one wallop of an album!

FIVE STARS

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 Üdü Ẁüdü by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 296 ratings

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Üdü Ẁüdü
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Another development for MAGMA after the space opera in the form of the Theusz Hamtaahk Triology had run its course. While many of the previous styles and sounds can be heard sparingly on ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ, this is a much less busy affair with only a few of the many musicians on the album taking part in any particular track. The star of this album is Jannick Top who delivers the funkiest and most in-yer-face bass lines that occur on any MAGMA album. He also handles the brass arrangements and synths as well leaving his indelible stamp on this album that sounds like no other.

The title track begins the album and has the most musicians participating and to be honest is my least favorite track on the album. The repetitive piano roll with the call and response Kobaian vocals with a nice jazzy sax appearing sounds like MAGMA making a tribute to African ritual music or something with its unrelenting rhythms. The problem for me is that it just doesn't do much with all the sounds going on and seems like a four minute group drone of some kind. The same is also true of the second track "Weidorje" which has a weak groove and vocal phrasings that i find really boring. Not a good start.

Luckily everything changes for the better with the brilliant third track "Tröller Tanz (Ghost Dance)" which starts with a cool synth run followed by an infectious bass groove with awesome interaction between the keyboards. The synth run has a haunting oscillating effect that actually sounds like haunting ghosts. This effect is heard from here on and adds a very effective spookiness to the mix including the other Ghost Dance of "Zombies" that also has a nice dissonant jazziness to it.

Most tracks are short and to the point but there is one progressive behemoth in the form of "De Futura." I wouldn't exactly call it more progressive than the other tracks, i would simply call it longer. It utilizes the exact same formula with beefy groovy double bass lines, oscillating ghost sounds and alternating themes and tempos, and basically it pretty much takes different songs and sows them together into an 18 minute monster that morphs into another track instead of being separate. It is the perfect way to end the album. Another successful MAGMA release in my book and although not as perfect as others, still quite a worthy addition.

I was surprised by the addition of"Ëmëhntëht-Rê (extrait no. 2)" as a final track until i realized it's a bonus track on the CD, but since it sounds more like the operatic craziness from MDK it is a nice reminder just how different ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ is in comparison and how lucky we are to get a band that can not only invent a progressive rock sub genre out of the sonic boiling pots of jazz, classical and rock but that they can reinvent it with every move they make. Although MAGMA would not continue this sound beyond this sole album, keyboardist Patrick Gauthier and bassist Bernard Paganotti would leave MAGMA to carry it on with their own group Weidorje which not only took on the sound but the name from the track as well, and i personally think they did an excellent job at perfecting this style of zeuhl.

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 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.18 | 31 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by floflo79

4 stars After the cool re recording of Rïah Sahiltaak (I remember the name !), Magma came back with a studio recording of a live piece called Slag Tanz. The music is in the pure tradition of Magma. Dissonant, complex time signatures, vocals in kobaïan... Logic, it's Magma. The musicians are very skilled as always, and the drum work of Vander is outstanding. For me, the highlights of the album are : the trilogy Dümb, Vers La Nuit, Dümblaë - Le Silence Des Mondes, the song Slag and the furious Zü Zaïn. In fact, all the album is very cool. But it's too short. 20 minutes for an album ! They should put an album with the re recording of Rîah Sahiltaak on the side A, and Slag Tanz on the side B. But I don't have to tell Vander how to make his job. Great stuff, excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Four stars.

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 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.18 | 31 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by jazz2896

5 stars Alright, here's the one all the Magma fans have been waiting for for quite some time now, and the question is, has the wait been justified? They've been playing this piece live since around 2009, and it has slowly morphed into the piece it is today. Bits have been chopped off, bits have been added, and does it work? Well for me, the answer to that is a resounding "yes". On my initial hearing, I didn't quite know what to make of it. It was certainly different than the live versions I had heard, it seemed to be lacking the sheer metal brutality of its live predecessor on Epok V, and I took this to be a weakness. Yet, there was still something in there that brought me back to it. After many listens, my ears have definitely warmed up to the sound of it, it is definitely less raw and metallic than the live version, but it is just as effective. This piece is very dense and episodic, alternating flawlessly between dark and heavy to angelic beauty. In other words, the piece is constantly moving itself forward, there is very little downtime; boring is the last word one could use to describe it. What it may lack in brutality, it makes up for with intensity and power. What I find most striking about this piece is its genius use of it's main, pulsating 5/4 bass riff (sort of like De Futura). The riff is present throughout nearly the entire piece, and yet it morphs to fit the mood of whichever section of the piece it's in. This riff lies under both heavy, dark passages as well as the light, melodic ones, and I believe this is where the genius of this piece lies; the ability to take this single riff, and flesh it out into a beautiful and powerful 20 minute piece. This is the very definition of fully fleshing out a single idea. Yes, I did say only 20 minutes, but the quality totally exceeds the quanitity. Vander's been working on this piece for years, he wouldn't release it as an unfinished work, he doesn't seem to be the one to take short cuts. Highly recommended.

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