MAGMA - rfi

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Now i love stupid ideas realized and carried to their logical conclusion (made up languages, neo classical stravinskyesque jazz rock), and i have always loved ruins who everyone has always told me are somewhat of a magma tribute act. the magma i have heard has been quite slow, stodgy, & non-challenging, but i'm guessing i've been listening to the wrong bits. SO... where is the hilarious over the top bombast and jizz winkery in the magma catalogue? - i need the absolute STUPIDEST stuff.

bob snoom, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

M.D.K. is the one everyone recommends (and it's the only one I've found cheap. It's pretty over the top sounding at points (and GREAT to boot).

Alex in SF, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

For over-the-topness, I agree, Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh is just what you need. If you want something a little less bombastic, pick up Udu Wudu. The A-side isn't so great, but the B-side-- the mindblowing 19 minute long song "De Futura"--is probably their single best song.

Diego, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Ah, Magma. Band of bands, freaks of freaks. The funny thing about Magma is that they have the rep of being completely over the top and from a different world, but in actuality, were just very determined (and talented as well, they don't get the muso respect they deserve because that other reputation often supercedes it) musicians writing a little sci-fi stuff. Hey, it was all in the name of peace and John Coltrane, man!

By the numbers:

Magma (1970): Debut 2-CD set. Hmm, ever wonder what Chicago would sound like if they were singing in another (made-up) language, and listening to too much Stockhausen? The first album is by most accounts, not the place to start, but it is arguably their *strangest*. Great playing and singing, but too goofy-60s-jazzrock- band for me.

1001 degrees Centigrade: Getting much better (and shorter). Leader/drummer Christian Vander's vision of a martial brand of jazz- fusion begins to take over with the excellent "Rïah Sahïltaahk". This is about 20 minutes of episodic, jazzy prog, and isn't the best stuff they ever did, but is getting there.

MDK and MK: Magma released a couple of versions of Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh, and the one titled simply Mekanik Kommandoh is the one I prefer. This is rock opera at its finest: aspects of fusion, Carl Orff, Wagner and free jazz make appearances here. Caveat: Magma gets mega panned by some hardline proggers for being overly weird and *repetitive*. They are known to run grooves into the ground and then some, and not funky goodtime grooves either, but hard, downbeat mashing war march grooves. The singing, by Vander and frontman Klaus Blasquiz ranges from think operatic baritone to fluttering trill falsetto.

Wurdah Itah: Officially released as a Vander solo, but really a part of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy (of which MDK is the third movement). For my money, this is actually the best Magma studio album. Style is similar to MDK, but no goofy horns, and while still featuring the hard war beat, also features a lot more dynamics, color, and all around interesting stuff. Classic.

Kohntarkosz: The other side of Magma begins on this record. Reportedly, when Vander seemed to notice other bands copping his style (most notablhy Mike Oldfied, who Vander accuses of having literaly stolen music from him for Tubular Bells), he changed his style a bit. This record is much mroe textural than the earlier ones, sounding something like a cross between Can, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Tangerine Dream. Not nearly so "over the top" as MDK, and by many fans' accounts, the most conventionally "pretty" sounding era of Magma.

Live/Hhai: Double live set featuring most of their well known material to that point. Great starting point for an intro to the band, though it does emphasize their more fusion-y tendencies.

Udu Wudu: Disappointing record wherein Vander starts losing control of the band's vision, and opens the floor to other members for writing music. The most famous song is bassist Jannik Top's "De Futura". Vander called his music "zeuhl", and one constant aspect of zeuhl is the role of the bass. Top was Vander's main man for a lot of Magma's best moments, and his signature distorted, almost growling bass is all over this 18 minute epic. As a whole, the album drags though.

Attahk: Magma goes crossover! Fusion, funk, disco, gospel, symphonic prog -- they weren't doing space-operas anymore, but for my money THIS IS ACTUALLY THE MOST OVER THE TOP MAGMA RECORD. Vander's singing and drumming on the incredible opener "The Last Seven Minutes" is alone worth the price of the CD.

Merci: After an extended hiatus, Magma releases this terrible record in 1984. Taking 80s gated drums, contemporary rnb and a whole mess of "oooh baby's", Magma goes from eccentric cult heroes to embarrassing soul freaks. I don't a single Magma fan who likes this album -- but if you're in it for laughs, go right ahead.

Beyond these, Magma has a number of live releases. Last year, they put out the entire Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy on a 3-CD live set. It's a great place to go after you've heard the original versions (and in some places, I think it surpasses them).

I <3 Magma!

dleone, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

the magma i have heard has been quite slow, stodgy, & non- challenging, but i'm guessing i've been listening to the wrong bits.

Erm...are you sure you're listening to Magma?

Joe, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

i like "simples" (short, more "songy" tracks that made me like magma at a time when i thought i was going to be eternally opposed to them), the first one and "udu wudu". especially "udu wudu," 'de futura' is the jam.

regarding the ruins/zeuhl connection, there's a side project called koenji hyakkei that is pretty straight zeuhl stuff. nice!

what i want to know is, what other zeuhl bands are worth hearing? i've heard (the debatably zeuhl-influenced) shub niggurath and they kicked my ass but good; weidorje didn't, though. where next?

your null fame, Friday, 16 August 2002 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I would say two other non-Magma definites are Zao's "Z = 7L" and Eskaton's "4 Visions". Zao was the first Magma-offshoot band (led by Yocho Seffer and Francois Cahen) and Eskaton was a non-Magma related clone band (*excellent* cloning, though). This all being said with the caveat that I from my perspective, Weidorje is the greatest non-Magma zeuhl albums. "Vilna" and "Booldemug" in particular are incredible.

Then there's also non-Zeuhl (i.e., don't be expecting Magma or near-Magma) albums by Zeuhl musicians--these are recommended:

Laurent Thibault's "Mais on ne Peut Pas..." (like a symph prog album)
Stella Vander's "D'Epreuves D'amour" (moody, melancholic piano/vocal music)
Pierre Michel Sivadier's "D'Amour Fou D'Amour" (ditto)
Simon Goubert's "L'Encierro" (jazz)

Joe (Joe), Sunday, 18 August 2002 04:01 (12 years ago) Permalink

Re: Ruins -- I think this comparison is brought up too much, and for Ruins, hasn't really been accurate in about 7 or 8 years (when their last noticeably zeuhl-influenced record "Hydermastrgroningem" came out). The thing is, Ruins' leader is an admitted Magma fanatic and because his band features strange "singing", bass up front and angular, repetitive riffs, people say they sound like Magma. However, the end result is mostly in a different world.

Koenjihyakkei has already been brought up, and that's a band much closer to the Magma sound -- but still very much louder and chaotic.

A different band that I always associate with Magma, even though they are completely unrelated, is Italy's Area. Same thing goes, with strange singing and acrobatic riffing, though Area played closer to straight fusion than Magma did.

And Joe, I still haven't heard that Thibault. It sounds interesting.

dleone (dleone), Sunday, 18 August 2002 04:45 (12 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...
i just wanted to add that jannick top's _soleil d'ork_ album is pretty cool if you've got a magma thing going on. has the "epithecanthropos erectus/utopia viva" single for a start, some unreleased stuff (long version of "mekanik machine" on which i swear the chorus is "lego head thrashing! lego head thrash-uh-ing!") and some demos of udu wudu tracks ("soleil d'ork" and "de futura" with richard pinhas on guitar). and a long, weird quiet song at the end.

your null fame (yournullfame), Thursday, 21 August 2003 11:55 (11 years ago) Permalink

"Soleil D'ork" is a jam -- zeuhl-funk has long been underrated (see entirety of Attahk). Another interesting release is the Vandertop Paris '76 CD, which is basically an official bootleg, but has an epic piece called "Music of the Spheres" which is really just an excuse for Jannick Top to take a long bass solo.

dleone (dleone), Thursday, 21 August 2003 11:59 (11 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...
All I have from Magma is "Floe Essi" which sounds like the bastard son of Stereolab and Ruins... What is the cannonical Magma stuff for me to drop my cash on?

GET TO THA' (PRICE) CHOPPA!!!!!!!! ROFFLE!!!!!!!! (ex machina), Friday, 7 May 2004 22:00 (10 years ago) Permalink

Magma, where do I go from here?

Joe (Joe), Friday, 7 May 2004 22:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

is Attahk really good?

GET TO THA' (PRICE) CHOPPA!!!!!!!! ROFFLE!!!!!!!! (ex machina), Friday, 7 May 2004 22:23 (10 years ago) Permalink

Attahk rawks.

Joe (Joe), Friday, 7 May 2004 22:28 (10 years ago) Permalink

I love it.

jazz odysseus (jazz odysseus), Friday, 7 May 2004 22:59 (10 years ago) Permalink

Does it sound more like Stereolab or Ruins.


GET TO THA' (PRICE) CHOPPA!!!!!!!! ROFFLE!!!!!!!! (ex machina), Friday, 7 May 2004 23:10 (10 years ago) Permalink

I don't think it sounds like either, but I've not heard that much of Ruins.

jazz odysseus (jazz odysseus), Friday, 7 May 2004 23:15 (10 years ago) Permalink

dleone describes it pretty well upthread, I think.

jazz odysseus (jazz odysseus), Friday, 7 May 2004 23:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, Attahk doesn't sound like either Stereolab (I don't really here much Stereolab in the Magma I'm familiar with; haven't heard "Floe Essi" yet) or Ruins; first track comes closest to Ruins in terms of the energy level on the drums...

Joe (Joe), Friday, 7 May 2004 23:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

Maybe it was just the vocals and instrumentation on Floe Essi? It was really pretty.

GET TO THA' (PRICE) CHOPPA!!!!!!!! ROFFLE!!!!!!!! (ex machina), Friday, 7 May 2004 23:31 (10 years ago) Permalink

"Floe Essi" is the more fusion-tinged song on the single that also contained Vander's more straightforward "Ektah". I don't really hear much Stereolab in either of these, but if I had to choose one to fit that bill, I wouldn't have picked "Floe Essi"!

For my money, the moments in Magma that remind me most of Ruins are on Wurdah Itah, and even then, you have to imagine them amplified by about 100x.

dleone (dleone), Friday, 7 May 2004 23:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...
This week's The Freak Zone show on 6 Music just played a fantastic 20 + minutes long Magma John Peel session track from 1974

[the show should be on listen again in a couple hours time]

also NEW Magma album released in Europe tomorrow:

DJ Martian (djmartian), Sunday, 7 November 2004 19:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

Saturday Night Live seriously needs to book Magma.

Joe (Joe), Monday, 8 November 2004 01:36 (10 years ago) Permalink

With Ashlee Simpson glossies tied to the drum cymbals.

Joe (Joe), Monday, 8 November 2004 01:37 (10 years ago) Permalink

Discography above left out the Univeria Zekt lp from 1972. This is actually a Magma album, released shortly after 1001 Degrees Centigrade, but due to record company hassles, the name Magma was not used.

Anyway, if you like 1001 Degrees Centigrade, you'll like this one.

Lefty, Monday, 8 November 2004 04:27 (10 years ago) Permalink

(Jon L), Monday, 8 November 2004 05:49 (10 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

Dominique (dleone), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 01:55 (9 years ago) Permalink

I love that picture. The one on Wikipedia is great, too.

Joe (Joe), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 02:13 (9 years ago) Permalink

Two lady friends of mine recently surprised me by ordering me Korusz for my birthday. Incredible that they actually picked out at random a Magma CD I don't yet own, though I suppose not without good reason...the look on their face as I explained to them that they had just bought me an entire 2CDs worth of drum solos ("But it's such a sweet gift!!!") was totally classic.

Joe (Joe), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 02:27 (9 years ago) Permalink

I haven't heard anything from those CDs - have you heard them yet? I really can't imagine owning 2+ hours of drums solos, even from Vander, but maybe I'm missing something

Dominique (dleone), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 02:32 (9 years ago) Permalink

Well, so far, I've only been able to make it through the first track so far (about 11 minutes or so). First track was more interesting than I thought it would be, because for a good portion of it, Vander keeps an actual beat (say, like "Bonzo's Montreaux") rather than just a boring free-form rock drum solo. Plus, it IS Vander, so it's suitably intense in parts.

But, yes, overall it still seems a bit much to me as well...the next two tracks are each over 20 minutes!

Joe (Joe), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 02:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

KA really grew on me. Fourth time was the charm.

milton parker (Jon L), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 19:12 (9 years ago) Permalink

I think "Live/Hhai" is the one to get

Rotatey Diskers With Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 19:18 (9 years ago) Permalink

my first one was 'attakh' and by the time the first track was over I knew I was buying all the rest.

milton parker (Jon L), Tuesday, 21 February 2006 19:24 (9 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...
Last year, they put out the entire Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy on a 3-CD live set

I got the DVD of it! In a car boot sale! For £5! Tried watching all of it in one sitting, but that was being wildly over-ambitious on my part. And stretched my schoolboy French well beyond the limit trying to follow the documentary that came with it.

Tom D. (Dada), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 14:36 (8 years ago) Permalink

Extremely jealous of your bargain purchase, sir.

More so given that said item is out of print now. Maybe I could trouble Steve Davis for a copy.

myopic_void (myopic_void), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 15:10 (8 years ago) Permalink

There is also the 4 Volume DVD set of their 35th Anniversary series of concerts (four weekends, each covering the various stages of the band with guest alumni, etc.)...currently, Vol. 1 & 2 is available,
and pretty awesome. Watch Vander on the MDK Jam (Volume 2)--whew!

Joe (Joe), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 17:50 (8 years ago) Permalink

Here's an excerpt (This is "Theusz Hamtaahk" from Vol. 1):

Joe (Joe), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 17:53 (8 years ago) Permalink

I really want to see these new "epok" dvds -- also very anxious for the Emehnteht-Re record

Dominique (dleone), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 18:04 (8 years ago) Permalink

Vander looks really wild in the photo posted above. not to mention the Rasputin-like guy on the left.
One day we should meet and just talk for ages about Magma - and other 70's French bands too.

Marco Damiani (Marco D.), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 18:44 (8 years ago) Permalink

Is that an open invitation? I'd sure love to talk up some Heldon.

myopic_void (myopic_void), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 19:32 (8 years ago) Permalink

Heldon/Richard Pinhas: S&D

milton parker (Jon L), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 19:35 (8 years ago) Permalink

yes, pls to book me a tkt to France, and we shall meet, drink wine and talk about french prog

Dominique (dleone), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 19:42 (8 years ago) Permalink

Avec plaisir!

myopic_void (myopic_void), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 19:50 (8 years ago) Permalink

Heldon, Lard Free, Fille Qui Mousse, Red Noise, Bernard Szajner, and all that Lovecraft-inspired prog...I'm always amazed by the number of good albums released in France in those years.

Marco Damiani (Marco D.), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 20:14 (8 years ago) Permalink

Can't wait to see the new DVD's, I actually saw one of the concerts (Vol. 2 - well, they did 5 nights, dunno if they filmed the specific one I was at), was beyond awesome. Although Top was slightly disappointing on bass, the guy they have now is better these days. I met Steve Davis there too! D. Leone's brief guide upthread is a v. good guide to Magma btw, although I'd recommend Udu Wudu more than he does because the AWESOMENESS of De Futura more than cancels out the ragbag on side 1.

Two awesome's in the same post about Magma. Could've been more.

Matt #2 (Matt #2), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 21:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

Oh yeah, there's some Zeuhl / Rock In Opposition festival Magma are playing at in France soon. Also with Univers Zero and some others (no Pinhas though I don't think).

Matt #2 (Matt #2), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 21:18 (8 years ago) Permalink

btw, Magma actually plays USA in the summer at Nearfest (along w/Bob Drake)

Dominique (dleone), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 22:43 (8 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

I have Kohntarkosz, Attahk and Udu Wudu. What next among these?

abanana, Wednesday, 15 August 2007 03:01 (7 years ago) Permalink

those arent so hot

Catsupppppppppppppp dude 茄蕃, Wednesday, 15 August 2007 06:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

For me the Retrospektiw discs are the best of all. I love the synths, always felt they should've have gone farther down that road!

Aside from that, my favs are the AKT Live at BBC and also the newer 1979 live thing which is beyond killer with energy levels going straight through the roof. I also have a bootleg called live in Bremen featuring Jannick Top which gets played a hell of a lot. It's the most apocalyptic of all their stuff! They play KMX twice and both takes are staggering. Top especially sounds like some ferocious Lovecraftian monster or something. Worth tracking down!!!

Another really underrated one is the AKT Les voix de Magma which has Wurdah Itah and Zess extracts performed with choir and pianos and nothing else... maybe their most beautiful album of all. But I also am a huge fan of everything Vander did in the 80s!

liam fennell, Friday, 20 December 2013 18:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

xp - Well I can hardly imagine anything with the same amount of fire as the last track on Hhai. I was kind of stunned by how stupidly fast it was - were there 2 drummers or was that all Vander?

I have seen some recent videos and felt like all the newer (younger) guys did a really good job. Like King Crimson I think the constant swapping in and out of band members makes for a lot of interesting live recordings.

liam - thanks for the suggestions. I'll certainly check those out. That Bremen gig sounds amazing. Haven't heard any of Vander's work in the 80's yet or beyond...he kinda went silent for a while didn't he?

frogbs, Friday, 20 December 2013 18:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

if les voix is your bag definitely check out the very limited "live in tokyo" release... this one has them doing a reduction of the whole theusz hamtaahk trilogy in the same style as "les voix"

magma is a band where you can really get into the bootlegs... even though there are a lot of hoarders, there's still hundreds of hours of classic stuff out there- one needs well-seasoned ears, of course, but they tend to be on fire. sowiloi for instance was just an epic jam in '73, going on for like half an hour, and you can hear how k.a. literally turned into kohntarkosz from '73-'74. there's also the original version of "theusz hamtaahk" from dec '73 and jan '74 where they just kill it for eight minutes straight on the ending. there's also stuff like magma's first american concert, with the brecker brothers guesting on horns- shambolic but top is fabulous- the "great zombie" from '77, where the last half of emehntehtt-re was taken from- an amazing 38 minute kohntarkosz from beynes 1975- magma doing the most ear-curdling "otis" ever in a 1981 radio broadcast- the short-lived lineup with the late pierre moerlen on second drums- a '72 concert where they encore with "klaus kombalad"- some tremendously stoned takes on "om zanka" from '75 and '77- it's a major rabbit-hole.

offically some of the stuff on the "vandertop" cds (magma by another name) is worth hearing- stuff like "la musique des spheres" and a ten-minute version of "mekanik machine"... a lot of fans don't know of these

in the '80s vander transitioned magma into "offering" which was more of a jazzy thing, to some people's tastes but not as overtly apocalyptic. in '96 magma reformed and has been going strong ever since.

rushomancy, Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

from ProgressiveEars:

anyone know when "Slag Tanz" is coming to the studio?

Slag Tanz, now called Axium, is being mastered as I write. Should be out in a few months, unless Offering live is released sooner. Magma this year???

frogbs, Thursday, 13 March 2014 20:23 (11 months ago) Permalink


(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 13 March 2014 20:26 (11 months ago) Permalink

Slag Tanz sung by child

fit and working again, Thursday, 13 March 2014 21:36 (11 months ago) Permalink

frogbs, who is that user? I forgot my progressiveears login, wondering what his source is. Trying to be a good obsessive Magma fan, but can't recall passwords in my old age

Dominique, Thursday, 13 March 2014 22:30 (11 months ago) Permalink

it was Dana5140, who writes for Sea of Tranquility. also posted this:

Originally Posted by Dana5140
I think the plan is to include a new version of MKD with Axium on the new CD.

that's a little disappointing. I love MDK as much as anyone but how many versions of it do we need?

frogbs, Friday, 14 March 2014 13:28 (11 months ago) Permalink

from "unclemeat":

They did re-record "Riah Sahiltaahk", and, along with a couple of new pieces and "Axium", this is (apparently) going to be the next CD. Also in the pipeline : the Offering DVD (and - possibly - a Vander solo DVD and a tribute to Michel Graillier, all filmed at le Triton).

frogbs, Friday, 14 March 2014 13:30 (11 months ago) Permalink

I see -- well, I guess it makes sense, because I don't know any other new Magma songs that are unreleased.

Dominique, Friday, 14 March 2014 14:12 (11 months ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

just noticed a recent update to the magma discography at wikipedia:

2014: Rïah Sahïltaahk

fit and working again, Tuesday, 12 August 2014 19:42 (6 months ago) Permalink

As previously announced, several album releases MAGMA (new and reissues) will be spread in the fall.

Here is what would be the program:
September 23 will see the official release of the new version of Riah Sahïltaahk on CD and LP; and November 4 will that Axiom (ie Slag Tanz) 'd.

In between, Oct. 7, will be published in LP size the three volumes of the trilogy Ëmëhntett-Re, namely Könhtarkösz, Köhntarkösz Anteria and Ëmëhntett-Re. Incidentally, this is the first time that the last two albums cited benefit of vinyl media.

(via google translate)

fit and working again, Tuesday, 12 August 2014 19:48 (6 months ago) Permalink

that's very good news, I'll be picking up all of that for sure

I've been playing "Attahk" an awful lot lately. Such a cool, one-of-a-kind disc, and I'll be damned if it doesn't sound like Vander is trying to invent drum n' bass a decade and a half early. Curious to hear the new stuff. I haven't actually heard a recording of "Slag Tanz" yet.

Maggie killed Quagmire (collest baby ever) (frogbs), Tuesday, 12 August 2014 19:52 (6 months ago) Permalink

I think the 2 new releases are EPs rather than full albums? I still haven't heard Félicité Thösz, any opinions?

めんどくさい (Matt #2), Tuesday, 12 August 2014 21:13 (6 months ago) Permalink

Félicité Thösz is... ok. Less rocking than many of their other records. It has yet to click with me like the previous two (amazing) albums.

fit and working again, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 01:03 (6 months ago) Permalink

I actually like Felicite Thosz very much, have listened to it more than any other Magma record pretty much since it came out. I love the vocals, and think it's a cohesive piece (working better on record than the live versions I'd heard beforehand). Energy-wise, it's not as intense as some of their other records -- and in that way, is maybe more similar to Offering. But form-wise, and certainly music-wise (ie the kinds of melodies, harmonies and rhythms I associate w Magma), it's totally in line with Vander's past stuff. As an added bonus, the final track, which isn't part of the title suite, is one of my favorite things he's written since the 70s.

Dominique, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 03:08 (6 months ago) Permalink

Yeah that last track is lovely. I expect I'll come around to the album eventually, just need to spend more time absorbing it all.

fit and working again, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 03:19 (6 months ago) Permalink

I fucking love Félicité Thösz - it is very much like Wurdah Itah for me, composition and style wise. It does also have an Offering vibe but only because it's very clean sounding and the focus is on the singing - the more I listen to it, the more I think comparing it to Offering is a little misleading. It is actually pretty damn heavy for something so pretty. I have so much more time for it over the other recent albums.

The new ones are indeed almost certainly EPs but anything is possible. Slag Tanz is heavy as all get out - twisted guitar riffs, intensity and chanting. A cd of that is certain to be good. Riah Sahïltaahk on the EPOK 5 dvd is totally whatever, kind of uninspired, so that doesn't get me very excited... we already have a perfect version of it from 1971 is the way I feel.

At this point, I mostly just hope they get around to doing a definitive Zess someday...

Super belated response to the post above, I agree those VanderTop things are all terrific and actually all of them just got repressed on cd so they are now readily available after a few years of being hard to find. Essential, really.

liam fennell, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 12:29 (6 months ago) Permalink

yeah I'm not sure what a re-recorded "Riah Sahilttahk" would even be like, the original sounds great and it's a really tight composition, so I don't really know what can be done. but I'm glad they haven't forgotten about it

Maggie killed Quagmire (collest baby ever) (frogbs), Wednesday, 13 August 2014 12:45 (6 months ago) Permalink

speaking of jannick top, anyone ever hear utopic sporadic orchestra? or his solo albums? seems like infernal machina and soleil d'ork are his 'zeuhl' releases?

and echoing the felicite thosz love, wurdah itah comparison is spot on.

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Wednesday, 13 August 2014 17:03 (6 months ago) Permalink

Pretty much. Infernal Machine is newer and kinda like Zeuhl nu-metal... kinda gross but still cool. He sounds the same and the compositions are good! Just the production is questionable with lots of crunchy guitars.

Soleil D'ork is super good - an essential Magma single called Mekanik Machine combined with lots of demos of all his compositions from that time period if I remember right. Things like De Futura with Top playing every single instrument. Sound is a little rough but not bootleg-rough and it all hangs together pretty well, really! A lot of synth work. It's all very futuristic and sci fi. In case anyone has missed this monstrous little thing:

Utopic Sporadic Orchestra is like a Magma big band with most everyone from the Magma universe and is pretty cool. I think the one CD I have is live; a 20 minute version of De Futura and a 20 minute version of another song from Soleil D'ork. Overall it is not too different from the VanderTop live albums, just denser!

liam fennell, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 18:41 (6 months ago) Permalink

awesome, thank you. big fan of "makanik machine" so I might start with soleil

magma big band also sounds exciting!

lol "zeuhl nu-metal"

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Wednesday, 13 August 2014 18:54 (6 months ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...

I've been playing Attahk a lot lately, there isn't anything else quite like this is there? Almost feels like Vander's playing drum n' bass back in 1978.

Maggie killed Quagmire (collest baby ever) (frogbs), Friday, 12 September 2014 13:04 (5 months ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Slag Tanz out Jan 27, here's an excerpt:

Dominique, Thursday, 20 November 2014 13:53 (3 months ago) Permalink

oh wow

J. Sam, Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:03 (3 months ago) Permalink

Live in London May 2015! Other UK dates happening too I think.

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:35 (3 months ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

so, who's heard slag tanz?

can't imagine a magma fan wouldn't like it, I mean, the song IS pretty killer. but I do mean "song"... the whole album is about 20mins long! :-o

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 22 January 2015 02:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

seeing you bump this thread and the Hosono thread at roughly the same time, I gotta ask: is it just me or is there a lot of overlap between the YMO and Magma fanbases? its not just ILX, it seems to be that way on, discogs, and RYM, even a lot of the music blogs I follow, am I crazy?

(and no, I haven't heard Slag Tanz, I'm just kinda surprised it's actually out!)

(also, can we use this bump to talk about the possible (or probable?) US tour dates!?)

Abstinence Hawk (frogbs), Thursday, 22 January 2015 04:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

don't really hear too many musical similarities there but those are two of all-time fave bands...

so, what's this about US tour dates??

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 22 January 2015 05:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

Magma supposed to announce April US tour dates next week, but per their FB page:

The dates of april in north america will be definitely confirmed this week.
North america April concerts: Dates and venues tbc next week.
San Francisco
Los Angeles
New York City

Dominique, Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

anyone else gonna try for that Chicago date??

Abstinence Hawk (frogbs), Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:10 (1 month ago) Permalink

Maybe Kraftwerk are the glue between Magma and YMO - weird electro-pop on the one hand and crazy euro prog on the other.

From a prog message board :

Chicago is April 10, as I noted above, at Reggie's Music Stage in the south Loop. Show will be announced next week, and it will be held in the larger of the 2 ballrooms (Cactus is playing in the other at the same time. The mind reels!).

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:25 (1 month ago) Permalink

Maybe Kraftwerk are the glue between Magma and YMO

hah, I like this theory

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 22 January 2015 17:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

psyched for this tour, they're so great live!

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Thursday, 22 January 2015 17:59 (1 month ago) Permalink

Got mine today, starting listen #3 now. If you've heard the Epok V DVD version of this piece, I'd say the new version is pretty similar, if not *quite* as fiery. However, this also has the new middle section ("les silence des mondes"), and a new ending -- and obv things like vocal precision and general clarity is better here. IMO Slag Tanz is already a classic Magma piece, and if nothing else, this album (or EP, really) has me incredibly psyched about the future of this now-45 year old band.

Dominique, Thursday, 22 January 2015 21:47 (1 month ago) Permalink

magma are definitely in a very, very small circle of acts that can still crank out top-notch material this far down the line. and this aggressive too!! this one's a classic, for sure.

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Friday, 23 January 2015 03:54 (1 month ago) Permalink

I do wish there were more to the recording, but like with the last one, I just play it a few times in a row

(⊙_⊙?) (Alan N), Friday, 23 January 2015 03:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

yep, got my NY tix

Dominique, Tuesday, 27 January 2015 22:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

fuuuck i think i might have to go to the portland show

languagelessness (mattresslessness), Tuesday, 27 January 2015 22:47 (1 month ago) Permalink

slag tanz is excellent, i had no idea

languagelessness (mattresslessness), Tuesday, 27 January 2015 22:49 (1 month ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's really good!

pelvic slang (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Wednesday, 28 January 2015 08:09 (1 month ago) Permalink

While this isn't a "Classic or Dud?" thread, I'll just pretend it is...


You’re being too simplistic and you’re insulting my poor heart (Turrican), Thursday, 5 February 2015 02:00 (1 month ago) Permalink

I mean, I love and have time for a hell of a lot of progressive rock (and prog-related) bands and fully embrace the overblown, over-the-top, pompous, masturbatory, so-ridiculous-it's-actually-sublime nature of the genre... but these guys are too ridiculous even for me.

You’re being too simplistic and you’re insulting my poor heart (Turrican), Thursday, 5 February 2015 02:15 (1 month ago) Permalink

What else don't you like? Can we get a top 5?

pelvic slang (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Thursday, 5 February 2015 03:15 (1 month ago) Permalink

serious prog question btw

pelvic slang (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Thursday, 5 February 2015 03:17 (1 month ago) Permalink

seconding that request

Abstinence Hawk (frogbs), Thursday, 5 February 2015 16:10 (1 month ago) Permalink

I only did one close listen, and a few background spins, to Slag Tanz and so far think it is just okay as a mini-album. GREAT live piece, though. I might be overexposed to it in that context, having caught it in concert a few years ago and having looked at EPOK V quite a bit. It is not really opening up any new and exciting Magma sound universes for me, at least not in the way something like Felicite Thosz continues to do. The jury is still out, though. I can imagine my opinion changing after listening to it really loud sometime!

Slag Tanz is, however, probably Vander's shining studio-recorded moment as a drummer. He is really killing it and firing on all cylinders! Those kinds of people interested in prog for the athletic aspect should dig the hell out of the thing!

Incidentally, I don't find Magma ridiculous at all! Well, maybe a little, but not in any way that detracts. Mostly I detect seriousness, 100% commitment to the concept and a little bit of humor when they incorporate a bit of James Brown and Stax/Volt R&B into the sound. I guess the concept is certainly inherently and undeniably ridiculous but the strength and intensity of the actual compositions and performances easily transcends that. Even on Merci! I fucking love Merci!

Also, Dominique, how do ya feel about the vibes player?! Does he totally take the band to a whole new level or what on the EPOK V dvd? He so thoroughly steals the spotlight for the new pieces that I can't imagine how they'd be without him. A secret weapon: not only a strong musician but also simultaneously a keyboard player AND a drummer! A perfect foil for Vander. I can't help but wonder if his inclusion a few years back is what ultimately kicked off this new cycle of works?

liam fennell, Thursday, 5 February 2015 18:47 (1 month ago) Permalink

I like Benoit Alziary on vibes, and when I saw Magma play a few years back (so far the only time, until April), he was one of the highlights. Agree that mallet percussion seems a great fit in Magma, and also happens to tie them a little closer to what I always thought was the non-rock counterpart to zeuhl, minimalism a la Steve Reich.

Dominique, Thursday, 5 February 2015 23:44 (1 month ago) Permalink

The non-rock non-Les Noces counterpart, you mean

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Friday, 6 February 2015 23:28 (1 month ago) Permalink

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