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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$15.81
$58.98 (used)
Slag tanzSlag tanz
Import
Jazz Village 2015
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AttahkAttahk
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$17.16
$23.95 (used)
TrilogyTrilogy
Box set
Snapper UK 2012
Audio CD$12.03
$18.52 (used)
Kohntarkosz AnteriaKohntarkosz Anteria
Jazz Village 2014
Vinyl$23.16
Kohnzert ZundKohnzert Zund
Box set · Import
Jazz Village 2015
Audio CD$74.31
$112.30 (used)
KohntarkoszKohntarkosz
Import
Seventh Records 2013
Audio CD$20.33
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Riah SahiltaahkRiah Sahiltaahk
Import
Jazz Village 2014
Audio CD$8.55
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Udu WuduUdu Wudu
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$15.93
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Zuhn Wol Unsai: Live 1974Zuhn Wol Unsai: Live 1974
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2014
Audio CD$13.40
$13.42 (used)
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1,001 Degrees Centigrade by Magma (France) (Vinyl, Aug-2010, Universal) USD $36.96 Buy It Now 2 days
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MAGMA shows & tickets


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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)

4.05 | 348 ratings
Magma (Kobaïa)
1970
4.13 | 326 ratings
1001° Centigrades
1971
4.30 | 733 ratings
Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
1973
4.10 | 370 ratings
Köhntarkösz
1974
4.20 | 270 ratings
Ẁurdah Ïtah (Christian Vander)
1974
3.76 | 315 ratings
Üdü Ẁüdü
1976
3.69 | 281 ratings
Attahk
1978
2.54 | 161 ratings
Merci
1984
3.82 | 86 ratings
Mëkanïk Kömmandöh
1989
4.27 | 519 ratings
K.A
2004
4.19 | 414 ratings
Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
2009
4.17 | 290 ratings
Félicité Thösz
2012

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

4.45 | 190 ratings
Live/Hhaï (Köhntark)
1975
3.11 | 38 ratings
Inédits
1977
3.97 | 64 ratings
Retrospektïẁ III
1981
4.57 | 94 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
4.26 | 43 ratings
BBC 1974 - Londres
1999
4.59 | 67 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)

4.45 | 22 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
4.30 | 39 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon
2001
4.38 | 47 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume I
2006
4.39 | 47 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume II
2006
4.80 | 56 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume III
2007
4.81 | 51 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume IV
2008
4.55 | 20 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
4.88 | 51 ratings
Studio Zünd
2009
3.26 | 8 ratings
Trilogy
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
45 Ans De Creation Hors des Sentiers Battus
2014
4.00 | 3 ratings
Köhnzert Zünd
2015

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

4.20 | 5 ratings
Kobaia/Mûh
1970
3.50 | 2 ratings
Hamtaak / Tendeï Kobah
1971
4.33 | 6 ratings
Mekanïk Kommando / Klaus Kömbälad
1972
4.63 | 8 ratings
Mekanïk Machine/Köhntarkosz
1974
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lïhns / Hhaï
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Spiritual
1978
2.00 | 1 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
3.73 | 27 ratings
Rïah Sahïltaahk
2014
4.40 | 40 ratings
Slaǧ Tanƶ
2015

MAGMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 1001° Centigrades by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 326 ratings

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1001° Centigrades
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The second chapter in the Gospel according to Christian Vander expands the mythology of planet Kobaïa even farther into the uncharted musical cosmos of Vander's imagination. The interplanetary narrative remains totally inscrutable, sung in an alien language to equally obscure (but exhilarating) music, more refined and sophisticated in the band's second outing but no less outrageous in its pinpoint, polyrhythmic weirdness.

The immediate surprise in this Magma album is how upbeat the music is, more so than anything else in their still expanding catalogue. Despite a few suitably bizarre digressions (look no deeper than the guttural Munchkin voices interrupting "Iss Lanseï Doïa"), this could almost be Zeuhl party music: a far cry from the hypnotic, sepulchral mantras of "M.D.K." or "Köhntarkösz".

Ditching their electric guitarist after the debut album only emphasized the jazzy horn work. But it still wasn't Jazz Rock, no matter what anyone might still be saying. The sequel stressed the more operatic elements in the music, strained as always through a unique sieve of jazz-like spontaneity and precise mathematic notation, all performed with eldritch Avant-Rock intensity.

The album's three long tracks might be too fractured at times, each one organized in an episodic medley of seemingly unrelated fragments and repetitive phrases (when it was revisited in 2014, the 22-minute "Rïah Sahïltaahk" was indexed into eight separate tracks). And the whole thing ends on a surprisingly anti-climactic note, with an unresolved fade-out in the middle of another groovy Zeuhl jam, this one shouldering the unwieldy title "Ki Ïahl Ö Lïahk"...grammatically normal in the universe of Magma, but still a tongue-twister worthy of Mr. Fox (in Socks, of Dr. Seuss fame, of course).

The element of surprise is missing too, after the outer-limit innovations of the first Magma LP. But the second album is illuminated by its own mysterious light, strong enough in retrospect to withstand the long shadow cast two years later by the band's magnum opus, "Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh".

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 Magma (Kobaïa) by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 348 ratings

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Magma (Kobaïa)
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not entirely sure why Magma's debut LP is sometimes called a Jazz Rock album. It's true the horn section gives the music a looser, jazzier vibe, but make no mistake: this is unadulterated Zeuhl from the first note to the final coda...repetitive, structured, and totally unnerving.

The music lacks the macabre Teutonic intensity of later Magma classics. But even with the outspoken Coltrane influence it's a poor fit in the Fusion cubbyhole, and weird enough to need an imaginary word in a fabricated language to describe it. The album might pass for traditional Jazz on planet Kobaïa, but here on Earth this is alien stuff, even more so when suddenly grounded by pastoral flutes and the unexpected acoustic guitar at the top of Disc Two.

Never mind the tongued-tied, extraterrestrial song titles (and how are we supposed to pronounce a word like "Sckxyss", anyway?). What's actually being fused here is an operatic blend of classical references, jazzy accents, and an Avant-Rock eccentricity any fan of early Zappa or The residents should immediately recognize.

Pick a track at random, and prepare to be (happily) confounded. The neo-classical beauty of "Naü Ektila", interrupted at intervals along its 13-minute length by thrilling passages of syncopated piano-and-sax mayhem. The shrieking introduction to "Stöah', sung (not the right word) like an inmate in Bedlam shredding his fingernails on the infirmary chalkboard. And after 82-uneasy minutes the album ends (in "Mûh", a song title sounding like a heavy object hitting the back of your head) with cliff-hanger abruptness, chanted as always in that coarse but compelling and otherworldly tongue.

In a single word: bizarre...and promising further madness to come. This was an album not only ahead of its time in1970, but totally outside of it.

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 K.A by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.27 | 519 ratings

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K.A
Magma Zeuhl

Review by justaguy

1 stars This is Magma and everything is said by that. Extensive porridge of improvised sounds, heavy bas lines, proud drumming and operatic chorusses, all that is here. Not enjoyable for anybody who looks for a harmony in music one listens. Magma is more for people who actually seek somthing really very original, other worldly, and who looks for joy in loud and heavy sound, but not metall, please. not much is changed in the sound comparing to other albums, it is still the same concept, thematically and musically. Me, I can not stand more then three minites of this cacaphony . Sorry, but this is only for completioners.

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 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.40 | 40 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This might be the single greatest piece of music that i've heard from MAGMA. According to Christian Vander it was written back in the seventies and played live in different forms since 2009. I'm such a big fan of not only dark and intense music like we have here but especially when contrasted with mellower passages. Now these more laid back sections often have this burning undercurrent to them but they also that lighter sound with female vocals at times. This is a 21 minute piece of seamless music divided into eight parts.

"Imehntosz-Alerte!" features Fender Rhodes, cymbals and bass early on as male vocals kick in. It settles back into a dark atmosphere as the male vocals return. Some tension here for sure as it blends into "Slag". The bass and vocals really impress here as it becomes fuller right away. It's picking up in tempo and in intensity a minute in. So good! Check out the insane vocals before 1 1/2 minutes as well as the killer drum work. It settles right down before 2 minutes as Fender Rhodes, drums, bass and female vocals lead the way. The insanity is back after 2 1/2 minutes but then it settles and blends into "Dumb" where female vocals and male vocals lead the way. They are burning it up with male vocals once again around a minute and check out the female vocal melodies that follow. Contrasts continue then a calm follows as bass and drums take the spotlight. It turns extreme again.

"Vers La Nuit" is led by female vocal melodies, bass and drums then the male vocals arrive as they trade off before both join in together as it turns fierce late. "Dumblae-Le Silence Des Mondes" settles to start with male vocals before it builds with male and female vocals. Check it out at 2 1/2 minutes! That female voice that cries out and the bass in that doom-like atmosphere. Incredible! "Zu Zain!" sounds amazing with the bass from Bussonnet that is just grooving and Vander's random drum patterns. Female vocals arrive around 1 1/2 minutes. "Slag Tanz" is beyond profound in my world with those intense vocals along with the Fender Rhodes, bass and drums. Simply killer! It settles late and it feels right that this EP should end here but then we get "Wohl Dunt" which is almost dirge-like with piano and Christian's slow vocals as it gives us a chance to figure out what the hell just happened.

I wasn't that impressed with the previous EP by MAGMA but man they have blown me away with this one.

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 Félicité Thösz by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.17 | 290 ratings

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Félicité Thösz
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Originally composed in the years 2001-02, like many MAGMA releases FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ saw a delayed release but in this case didn't have to wait decades to grace our ears with Kobaian love music. This one only took one ten year period to ferment into the musical fluffiness that we hear! This is perhaps one of the softest and gracefully uplifting MAGMA albums ever to hit planet Earth. While it seems every previous album was some kind of piece to some ridiculously convoluted story about the Kobaians coming and going from planet Earth, FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ simply sounds like their version of a Sunday service where all chants, vocals, guitars, vibraphones, bass and drums are conspiring to celebrate their decades long achievement and to give thanks to the universe for allowing their muddled history to unfold and bring them to a place of eternal peace.

On this release we hear Stella Vander lead the group with a nice diva driven vocal range only much less aggressive and bombastic as on previous offerings. This musical journey contains ten tracks but in reality you cannot really distinguish them separately because they all flow together just perfectly making a very long epic track. This is one of the shorter MAGMA albums clocking in just past the 32 minute mark, but what graceful beautiful music this is. I would almost call this whole album one long Kobaian ballad as the piano and female vocals are what dominates the soundscape. Christian Vander has never sounded so subdued with his percussion skills and as a huge fan of vibraphones, glockenspiels and bells, this really hits me where it counts!

Soft and sensual and occasionally bombastic, this Kobaian journey takes us through the familiar zeuhl melodies and rhythms but once again MAGMA surprises us with yet another take on their sound. This album is very much focused on female vocals but male vocals are essential as well. In general the vocal harmonies are very much the focal point of the whole thing. Hypnotic and exercising control in minimalism, FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ continues the MAGMA legacy keeping the Kobaians relevant in yet another decade in the 21st century. While this band has more masterpieces than should be possible, i find FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ to be yet one more MAGMA- nanimous edition to their outstanding discography.

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 Rïah Sahïltaahk by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.73 | 27 ratings

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Rïah Sahïltaahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Riah Sahitaahk" was originally the side long opening track on MAGMA's second album "1001 Centigrades". Christian Vander decided to re-record this track and it was released as an EP in 2014. It is quite interesting comparing these two versions which i've been doing all week. I will say that the original lineup for this track blows away this modern version and yes i'm a huge fan of ONE SHOT members Mac Gaw and Bussonet who add there talent to this latest version. Still when you have names like Moze, Cahen, Seffer, Blasquiz and Lasry on the original you know this latest lineup is up against it.

As others have mentioned the original had plenty of horns with Seffer(sax, bass clarinet), Lasry(clarinet, sax, flute) and Toesca(trumpet) helping out while the latest has no horns. No guitar on the original but Mac Gaw adds that here. No female vocals on the original but Stella and Isabelle are prominent here. The other difference is that the original is one long suite while the latest is broken down into 8 different tracks which i don't like.

My favourite section on this EP is "Un Zoin Glao" because it is experimental unlike the rest with frenzied vocals, dissonant piano and odd-metered drumming, heck even the guitar sounds adventerous. Overall though I feel that 3 stars is the right rating for me. It's a step down for sure from the original in my opinion, in fact it's not close. MAGMA fans though may love this so check it out for yourselves.

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 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.40 | 40 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

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
4.40 | 40 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
3.69 | 281 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
4.30 | 39 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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