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Magma Retrospekt´ẁ I-II album cover
4.53 | 142 ratings | 12 reviews | 68% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Theusz Hamtaahk (36:05)
2. MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h (40:04)

Total Time: 76:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Klaus Blasquiz / vocals (1,2)
- Stella Vander / vocals (1,2)
- Liza Deluxe / vocals (1,2)
- Claire Laborde / vocals (2)
- Maria Popkiewicz / vocals (2)
- Didier Lockwood / violin (1,2)
- Gabriel Federow / guitar (1,2)
- Jean-Luc Chevalier / guitar (2)
- Patrick Gauthier / keyboards (1,2)
- Benoit Widemann / keyboards (1,2)
- Bernard Paganotti / bass (1,2)
- Christian Vander / drums, keyboards, vocals (1,2)

Releases information

CD-Seventh-Rex XVI/XVII

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to James for the last updates
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MAGMA Retrospekt´ẁ I-II ratings distribution

(142 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(68%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MAGMA Retrospekt´ẁ I-II reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This double live album takes us back to June 1980 in Paris, France where MAGMA were performing a reunion concert. They played three nights. Two thirds of the "Theusz Hamtaahk" trilogy have been included, in fact the first self-titled movement had never (at that time) been on any of their recordings until this one. The second album consists of the third part of the trilogy "MDK" the self titled track from that famous record. This song is different from the original in that there are synths in place of horns and we also get some great violin from Lockwood.

"Theusz Hamtaahk" opens with fast paced vocals and outburts of drums. When they settle the crowd roars it's approval. Faint vocals start to build and it kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes. It settles again as female vocals come in. Nice.The tempo continues to shift. Keyboards after 6 minutes start an excellent instrumental section until about 10 minutes in. Amazing sound and rhythm here. Love the bass from Paganotti. I should mention that Gauthier and Widemann are both playing keyboards on this double album. Blasquiz and Stella are helped by four other vocalists including Christian Vander of course. Check out the nasty,growly bass 17 minutes in ! Things get a little crazy after 22 minutes followed by some equally crazy vocals. Spoken words 26 1/2 minutes in as we get some atmosphere until it kicks back in before 31 minutes. Applause after 32 1/2 minutes is interupted by waves of synths, some screams and all around freaky stuff.

"Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh" opens with keyboards as female vocal melodies sing over top. Bass and drums take over as the crowd cheers. Spoken words join in. Male vocals come and go along with the female ones. Prominant guitar after 7 minutes. The drumming is incredible before 11 minutes. Piano follows. It settles 13 1/2 minutes in. Christian comes in vocally as it kicks back in. Check out the filthy bass solo after 22 1/2 minutes ! The song kicks in after 26 1/2 minutes with piano and drums as bass continues to dig deep. Violin joins in as Lockwood ends up taking over. What a display he puts on ! He ends it around 33 minutes. Amazing ! Female vocals come in as bass, keyboards and drums lead the way. Intense. Drums and guitar before 34 1/2 minutes impress. That repetitive rhythm continues until about 36 minutes in when it changes. Guitar lights it up briefly after 37 minutes.

A must for MAGMA fans out there.

Review by Neu!mann
5 stars My own belated initiation to the alternate universe of Magma came in the late 1990s, with the blind purchase (on vinyl!) of the band's 1975 "Live/Hha´" double disc, generally regarded as the ideal point of entry for aspiring Magma novices. But this more recent (and likewise live) album, from a June 1980 reunion gig in Paris, may in fact be even better, presenting vivid sound quality, inspired performances, and a choice of material taking full advantage of compact disc technology: fitting two long, uninterrupted songs on a single CD.

Each is an album all by itself, the back-stories of which can be found in other, better informed reviews here at Prog Archives. "Theusz Hamtaahk" is a relentless, hypnotic anthem for marauding alien armies, building in lock-step intensity for over 22-minutes before shifting suddenly into a more up-tempo but equally energetic vocal interlude lasting another quarter-hour, with the trademark Magma chants and harmonies interweaving and overlapping like perfectly meshed, pan-galactic gears.

And there's even more drama waiting in the opening chords of "Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h": a truly awesome introduction to an obvious fan favorite, judging from the rightfully ecstatic audience reaction. The entire 1973 album is presented in all its widescreen fury and grandeur, clocking in at a full 40-minutes, without a wasted moment among them (I'm assuming the quick fade to Bernard Paganotti's juggernaut bass guitar solo, near the mid-point of the opus, marked the vinyl transition between sides three and four of the original twin-LP release).

Over the epic length of each track there isn't a single instrumental break or vocal cue left to chance. And yet the entire set flows with astonishing grace and precision, albeit more powerful at times than a cresting sheet-metal tsunami. The remarkable, near telepathic synchronicity is all the more impressive when you consider how crowded the stage must have been: a total of twelve performers were needed to effectively render 'MDK', all playing and singing simultaneously.

I just now noticed the frequency in this review of superlative adjectives: remarkable, astonishing, awesome and so forth. Hard to avoid when writing about this band, but employed here without a trace of hyperbole. In deference to the Prog Archives guidelines I considered holding my rating down to four enthusiastic stars, but this one album captures the Magma sound so flawlessly that it easily wins a full five-star rave.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Another excellent live Magma album, this time presenting Theusz Hamtaahk and Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh in versions performed at a reunion concert in 1980. The style of the performance is very much in the mode of the classic Magma sound of the mid-1970s - the funk experiments of Attahk are not in evidence here - and the sound quality is decent, though as far as live performances of Theusz Hamtaahk go I don't think this one quite beats the BBC 1974 performance. Still, this is a great little introduction to Magma, and if you don't already own Theusz Hamtaahk on one or another of its renditions it's as good a pick as any.
Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars You've probably heard the story before: Magma is a tough band to swallow at first. I've had a hard time trying to "get" their music. My first album of theirs was Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh and, to be honest, I didn't understand what was happening. The vocals were too grating, the beat was too repetitive and the music sounded too chaotic. Magma scared me. It took me a lot of time to understand what they were doing, years, to be a bit more precise. But one day it clicked. I don't know how to explain it. One day I played it and it all made sense. The jazz-rock, that I didn't even realized at first because of the shock of all the music, grooved throughout the whole album and I was chanting gibberish and dancing all the way until the end. The chaos in their sound started to take form and everything, even the vocals, were necessary for it to click. The repetition made it all more intense and engaging (it'll grab you, alright, and it won't let you go.) Before I knew it I was downloading albums like crazy. I was hooked on Magma like a junkie. To be fair, some albums weren't as good, but I still went through.

But if you, reader, want to get into Magma, don't do as I did, don't start with MDK. Heck! Start with K.A., since everything sounds so crisp, pounding, aggressive compared to the studio version of MDK. But if you really want to know what all the MDK fuss is about, then you should do yourself a favor a get this live album. MDK is a beast! For starters, the studio version of MDK gives more importance to the orchestration and it drowns the sound of the band. In Retrospektiw the sound is evenly balanced. The rhythm section, which is the driving force behind Magma, sounds crystal clear and up front. This is the important thing here and it does make a difference, since THEY are the band, not the orchestra. The music sounds more organic and less polished, though not less tight. Magma needs to sound gritty for it to be effective. The other composition, Theusz Hamtaahk, is no less interesting, though it is a bit less explosive. The middle section of Theusz will put you in a trance and you'll end up nodding your head without even knowing it.

All in all, this live album is a must for Magma fans and for people trying to get into 70's Magma. Considering that you're knowing what you're getting yourself into, this album will deliver, and how it delivers!

4.5, but I'd rather give it a 5 than a 4. It deserves it, and you deserve this album, too.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Surprised! I had $2.03 left on a gift card from a MP3 download site and this album was there for $2.00. I had not listened to any Zuehl before and so I thought what do I have to lose. I must admit that after reading the definition of Zuehl in the PA sub-genre section, I was prepared to give ... (read more)

Report this review (#820668) | Posted by AEProgman | Friday, September 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars retrospectiw I-II documents the 2/3 of the infamous theusz hamtaahk trilogy while being "the best" compilation album for magma it is also a showcase of magma's live performance... and the material here is simply superior anything heard before the album opens with "theusz hamtaahk" famous never "s ... (read more)

Report this review (#418104) | Posted by ourlawisliberty | Friday, March 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's 1981: three years have withered since a release, studio or live, from the fathers of Zeuhl. After a so-very-slightly disappointing quasi-swan song like Attahk, Magma dug out these very fine recordings, to be called Retrospekt´w I, II, and III, and released 'em. Retroskept´w I-II and III (rel ... (read more)

Report this review (#169976) | Posted by Shakespeare | Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok, so this review must come with a caveat: 'tis long, and very flattering! There seems to be a fair amount of debate on the topic of 'Which album is the best starting point for those who want to investigate Magma?' I think my personal suggestion would be this album. First of all, from my some ... (read more)

Report this review (#168684) | Posted by song_of_copper | Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes - this one is just another great double-LP live album by Magma - yet with Didier Lockwood on violin, Beniot Widemann on keyboards and Klaus Blasquiz on vocals... and includes only two longish compositions "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommand÷h" and "Theusz Hamtaahk" - but very fine live versions of ... (read more)

Report this review (#97497) | Posted by Rainer Rein | Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I began to post this review, the warning blurb about "making sure" the album is worth five stars came on - I brushed it aside with annoyance in my haste to concur that this album (and Retrospectiw V.3) are fantastic, brilliant live recordings of Magma at their powerful and magnificent bes ... (read more)

Report this review (#22375) | Posted by | Sunday, October 31, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Their best life album as far.And so...I recommend everyone to visit a life-concert from Magma nowadays.Other musicians...yes...but they excactly sound similar as so many years ago.Other musicians,but as brilliant. ... (read more)

Report this review (#22374) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was the last live appearance of vocalist Klaus Blasquiz and what a note to end on. This is the band at their finest. Theusz Hamtaahk is particularly stunning with Christian Vanders drumming at it's very best. The vocals of Blasquiz and Stella Vander soar to new heights and the piece builds to a ... (read more)

Report this review (#22372) | Posted by | Sunday, January 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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