Magma (band)

From Academic Kids

Magma is a French progressive rock band founded in 1969 by classically-trained drummer Christian Vander, who claimed as his inspiration a "vision of humanity's spiritual and ecological future" that profoundly disturbed him. In the course of their first album, the band tells the story of a group of people fleeing a doomed Earth to settle on the planet Kobaia. Later, conflict arises when the Kobaians — descendants of the original colonists — encounter other Earth refugees. A remarkable aspect of Magma's albums is that Vander actually invented a constructed language, Kobaian, in which most lyrics are sung. Later albums told different stories set in more ancient times; however the Kobaian language remained an integral part of the music.

Considered by many to be musically adventurous and imaginative, Magma makes extensive use of the choral format, their album Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh being particularly reminiscent of the classical composer Carl Orff, while Wurdah Itah reveals connections to Bela Bartok's piano music and "Les Noces" by the Russian master Igor Stravinsky. Work by Magma is also highly influenced by jazz saxophone player John Coltrane.

So many musicians played with Magma over the years, who then went on to form their own solo projects and/or spinoff acts, that the Kobaian term Zeuhl came to refer to the style of these bands and the French jazz fusion/symphonic rock scene that grew around them. Beyond Christian Vander, the drummer/composer, the most well-known of the original Magma lineup was probably Jannick Top, the bassist/co-composer (who has gone on to produce albums for Celine Dion).

While original Magma vinyl fetches top dollar, Christian Vander and Jannick Top together keep Magma's back catalog in print on CD.

Note that there was also a short-lived Polish pop band in the early 1980s called Magma, who recorded only one album and some singles.


Excludes numerous compilations. The compilation "Spiritual" is pirated material lifted from other albums. Magma sees no profit from this recording and it contains no new material.

Studio Albums

Other Material

  • 1975 Live/Hhaï
  • 1977 Inédits
  • 1981 Retrospektiw (Parts I+II)
  • 1981 Retrospektiw (Part III)
  • 1986 Mythes Et Legendes Vol. I (compilation)
  • 1992 Les Voix de Magma (live)
  • 1994 Akt IV (Theatre Du Taur Concert, 1975)
  • 1995 Akt V (Concert Bobino, 1981)
  • 1996 Akt VIII (Bruxelles - Theatre 140, 1971)
  • 1998 Floë Ëssi/Ëktah (EP)
  • 1998 Simples
  • 2000 DVD Concert du Trianon, january 2000

Discographic notes

Magma's Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy is composed of three movements : Theusz Hamtaahk (first appearing on the Retrospektiw (Parts I+II) album), Wurdah Ïtah, and Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh.

The K.A. (Kohntarkosz Anteria) and Köhntarkösz albums are respectively the first and second parts of a second trilogy. Although never surfaced in full, at least parts of the missing movement Emëhnthët-Rê have been recorded, one snippet appearing as a bonus track on the Seventh Records CD reissue of Üdü Wüdü. Emëhnthët-Rê is currently being completed by the band and is expected to be their next release.

Univeria Zekt was recorded as The Unnamables and is widely considered to be an easier listen than most of Magma's recordings.

Wurdah Ïtah may technically be a Christian Vander solo project, in that it was composed entirely by him, bore his name during its original release as the soundtrack for the film Tristan et Iseult, and did not feature all of Magma's then-current musicians. It did bear the Magma logo, however, and Vander has referenced it as a Magma album.

After Hhaï, the focus shifted away from the spiritual/epic poem aspects of their music. While Attahk and Üdü Wüdü do have some songs written in Kobaian, it was never revealed how these fit into the earlier story structure Magma had built.

Les Voix and Floë Ëssi/Ëktah were performed by Vander with a completely new lineup. The style was somewhere between the classic Magma sound and the more jazz-influenced music of Vander's post-Magma band, Offering.

Simples is a bizarre piece, in that it consists of several earlier Magma prog-rock epics edited down to a length that the band had originally hoped would garner them radio airtime during the 1970s. To listeners familiar with Magma's sound, this may make for a fairly incongruous, overly-radio-friendly listen.

In November 2004 Kohntarkosz Anteria or K.A. was released on Seventh Records, the first recording of a lengthy work written 30 years before, bridging the gap in the Kobaian saga between MDK and Kohntarkosz. Magma's lineup was different for this disc; the only original members were Christian and Stella Vander. Reviews were almost unanimously positive, many considering K.A. the equal of any of the '70s classics.

External links

pt:Magma (banda)


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