Magma performing live at Roadburn Festival, 2017
|Genres||Zeuhl, progressive rock, avant-rock, art rock|
|Years active||1969–1983, 1996–present|
|Members|| Christian Vander |
|Past members|| Francis Moze |
Jannick "Janik" Top
Magma is a French progressive rock band founded in Paris 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 Kobaïa. Later, conflict arises when the Kobaïans—descendants of the original colonists—encounter other Earth refugees.
Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid- to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing.
Christian Vander is a French drummer, musician, and founder of the band Magma. Besides his work with Magma, he has also performed solo, with the Christian Vander Trio and Christian Vander Quartet, and in Offering.
Vander invented a constructed language, Kobaïan, in which most lyrics are sung. In a 1977 interview with Vander and long-time Magma vocalist Klaus Blasquiz, Blasquiz said that Kobaïan is a "phonetic language made by elements of the Slavonic and Germanic languages to be able to express some things musically. The language has of course a content, but not word by word."Vander himself has said, "When I wrote, the sounds [of Kobaïan] came naturally with it—I didn't intellectualise the process by saying 'Ok, now I'm going to write some words in a particular language', it was really sounds that were coming at the same time as the music." Later albums tell different stories set in more ancient times; however, the Kobaïan language remains an integral part of the music.
A constructed language is a language whose phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, instead of having developed naturally, are consciously devised. Constructed languages may also be referred to as artificial, planned or invented languages and in some cases fictional languages. There are many possible reasons to create a constructed language, such as to ease human communication ; to give fiction or an associated constructed setting an added layer of realism; for experimentation in the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, and machine learning; for artistic creation; and for language games.
Kobaïan is a lyrical language created by French drummer and composer Christian Vander for his progressive rock band Magma. It is the language of Kobaïa, a fictional planet invented by Vander and the setting for a musical "space opera" sung in Kobaïan by Magma on ten concept albums.
In 1986, the French label Seventh Records was founded to (re-)publish Magma's and Vander's work. Over the years, Seventh has also released albums by related artists such as Stella Vander, Patrick Gauthier and Collectif Mu.
Stella Vander is a French singer and musician.
In early 1967, drummer Christian Vander played in the Wurdalaks and Cruciferius Lobonz, two rhythm and blues bands. With these groups, he wrote his first compositions, "Nogma" and "Atumba". The death of John Coltrane saddened Vander, who left the groups and traveled to Italy. He returned to France in 1969 and met saxophonist Rene Garber and bassist and conductor Laurent Thibault. Together with singer Lucien Zabuski and organist Francis Moze, they created the group Uniweria Zekt Magma Composedra Arguezdra, shortened to Magma.
Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes and was at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of his career, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He remains one of the most influential saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church and a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son, Ravi Coltrane, is also a saxophonist.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.
After their first tour, Magma experienced significant lineup turnover. Vocalist Lucien Zabuski was replaced with Klaus Blasquiz, and pianist Eddie Rabin, double bassist Jacky Vidal, and guitarist Claude Engel also joined the group. The group worked on material for three months in a house in the Chevreuse Valley. Eddie Rabin was replaced by François Cahen on keyboards, and Laurent Thibault abandoned bass to devote himself to production. Francis Moze became the new bassist. The band also expanded with a brass section, consisting of Teddy Lasry on saxophone and clarinet, Richard Raux on saxophone and flute, and Paco Charlery on trumpet. The group's first album, Magma , was released in the spring of 1970 by Phillips Records. The group caused a sensation but audience reactions were mixed.
Vallée de Chevreuse is the valley of the Yvette River in the Yvelines and Essonne departments.
Francis Moze is a French bass player, best known for his work in Magma, Gong and Pierre Moerlen's Gong.
Magma is the debut album by progressive rock or "zeuhl" group Magma, which was released as a double-LP in 1970. The album tells the story of a group of people fleeing a doomed Earth to settle on the fictional planet Kobaïa.
After the album was released, Claude Engel, Richard Raux, and Paco Charlery left the group. Jeff Seffer replaced Raux on saxophone, and Louis Toesca replaced Charlery on trumpet. Their second album, 1001° Centigrades, was released in April 1971. The album won the band more exposure, including a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
1001° Centigrades is the second album by progressive rock band Magma. It was originally released in 1971 under the title Magma 2. A 1973 reissue changed to title to 1001 Degrees Centigrades and changed the album cover from the Magma logo on a silver background to a color illustration of a twisting road with erupting volcano background. The 1990 CD reissue restores the original cover design and compromises with both titles. For this album,
Magma underwent several personnel changes: guitarist Claude Engel departed without being replaced, and Alain Charlery and Richard Raux made way for Louis Toesca (trumpet) and Jeff Seffer. This was the second installment in Magma's Kobaïan saga. With lyrics again performed in the band's invented language, the album chronicles the Kobaïan people's return to Earth to save the planet.
The Montreux Jazz Festival is a music festival in Switzerland, held annually in early July in Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline. It is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada's Montreal International Jazz Festival.
In August 1972, Magma released the album The Unnamables , under the alias Univeria Zekt. However, the album sold only 1,500 copies. Many musicians left the band that year, including François Cahen, Louis Toesca, Jeff Seffer, Francis Moze, and Teddy Lasry.That same year, Christian Vander recorded the soundtrack for Yvan Lagrange's film Tristan et Iseult.
In 1973, Vander formed a new lineup of the band, adding Stella Vander as a second vocalist, Claude Olmos on guitar, Jannick Top replacing Francis Moze on bass, Rene Garber on saxophone and clarinet, and Jean-Luc Manderlier on keyboards, among others. This new version of the band would release their most famous work Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh, which would later become their most acclaimed album, and gave them international fame,including a spot at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival, their first American performance. In 1974, under Vander's name, the band released a soundtrack album accompanying Yvan Lagrange's 1972 film Tristan et Iseult, also known as Ẁurdah Ïtah ; under Magma's name, they followed up with Köhntarkösz , which was successful among fans, but not received as well among the public as Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh. The band would then go on a long, year-and-a-half long tour of France, and after another member shakeup (Bernard Paganotti replacing Jannick Top on bass, Didier Lockwood added as a violinist, Jean-Pol Asseline and Benot Widemann replacing Gerard Bikialo on keyboards, and Gabriel Federow replacing Claude Olmos on guitar), released their first live album, Live / Hhaï, in December 1975, recorded at the Taverne de l'Olympia in Paris.
In 1976, Top briefly rejoined the band for the recording of the album Üdü Ẁüdü , but left soon after due to strained relations with frontman Christian Vander. More lineup turnover followed in 1977, with Jean DeAntoni replacing Gabriel Federow on guitar, Guy Delacroix replacing Bernard Paganotti on bass, and Clement Bailly hired as a second drummer.
In 1978, Magma released the album Attahk . Vying for more commercial success,the album included elements of soul, rhythm & blues, and funk music.
Celebrating 10 years as a band, in 1980, Magma performed three nights at L'Olympia in Paris, with guest appearances from many of the group's past musicians. These were recorded and released as Retrospektïẁ (Parts I+II) and Retrospektïẁ (Part III) . The concerts were successful, and allowed Magma to play a number of shows around France, including a three-week residency at Paris's Bobino in 1981, which was recorded and filmed, and later released as Concert Bobino 1981.
In 1984, the band recorded the album Merci , and disbanded shortly afterwards. Christian Vander formed other projects such as Offering, and various jazz projects including the Christian Vander Trio.
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The band is widely considered to be musically adventurous and imaginativeamong music critics. Magma uses choirs extensively in a way reminiscent of the composer Carl Orff. Magma's music is also highly influenced by jazz saxophone player John Coltrane, and Vander has said that "it is still Coltrane who actually gives me the real material to work on, to be able to move on".
Many of the musicians who have played with Magma have also formed solo projects or spinoff acts. The Kobaïan term Zeuhl has come to refer to the musical style of these bands and the French jazz fusion/symphonic rock scene that grew around them.Besides Christian Vander, other well-known Magma alumni include the violinist Didier Lockwood, bassist-composer Jannick "Janik" Top, and spinoff act Weidorje.
The band has a number of high-profile fans. Punk rock singer Johnny Rotten,metal musician Kristoffer Rygg, Steven Wilson formerly of Porcupine Tree, Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth, magician Penn Jillette, and Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky have all stated their admiration of the band.
In the 1980s, British World champion snooker player Steve Davis declared himself a passionate follower of the band since his youth and used some of his winnings to promote a series of concerts by Magma in London.
Television journalist Antoine de Caunes wrote a biography of the band entitled Magma.
MDK may refer to:
Mekanïk Destruktïẁ Kommandöh, also abbreviated as MDK, is the third studio album by French progressive rock band Magma, released in December 1973. Magma's original recording of the composition that makes up the album was refused by the record company at the time, but was eventually released as Mekanïk Kommandöh in 1989.
K.A is an album released by French progressive rock band Magma in 2004. The album was Magma's first full-length studio release in over 20 years. The material was largely composed by drummer Christian Vander in 1973–74, and fragments of it can be heard on Magma's 1977 live album Inédits.
Jannick "Janik" Top is a French bass player and composer, born in Marseille. Top plays the electric bass and the cello.
Köhntarkösz is an album released by French progressive rock band Magma in 1974.
Live/Hhaï is the first live album and fifth album in total by French progressive rock group Magma. It was recorded in Paris between the 1st and 5 June 1975 at the Taverne de l'Olympia, and was first released in 1975.
Üdü Ẁüdü is the sixth studio album by French progressive rock band Magma, released in 1976.
Inédits is an album by French progressive rock group Magma. It was released in 1977 and features unreleased pieces and music that would eventually be used in the band's 2004 studio album K.A. . The album was first released on Tapioca, then on LTM, and more recently on Seventh. It is noted for its poor sound quality.
Retrospektïẁ is a live album by French progressive rock group Magma. Released in 1981, it documents live recordings from a series of Magma reunion shows in Paris on 9, 10 and 11 June 1980. It was originally released on RCA, and has been re-released on Seventh Records.
Retrospektïẁ is a live album by French progressive rock group Magma. It was released in 1981, following Retrospektïẁ from the same year. It was originally released on RCA, and has since been reissued on Seventh Records.
Mekanïk Kommandöh is an album by French progressive rock group Magma. It was recorded in 1973, but not released until 1989. The album consists of an early rendition of the band's classic record Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh. This alternate take features a rawer, more stripped-down mix that pushes the drums upfront and does not contain the horns and other melodic instruments. It includes a doom-leaden introduction delivered by Christian Vander which was not used in the following version.
The Unnamables is the only album by Univeria Zekt. It was released in 1972.
All of Magma's studio albums up to and including 2004's K.A have been officially reissued on CD by Seventh Records. They were released in a 12 disc box set called Studio Zünd: 40 Ans d'Évolution, which as a bonus featured the exclusive double CD Archiw I & II, a compilation of unreleased material, including the 1970 film soundtrack for 24 heures seulement, an alternate version of Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh - originally issued as a bonus on the first CD edition of the MDK album, the band's first demo recordings from 1970, and an alternate take of "Eliphas Levi" from Merci (1984). Albums are not remastered.
Ẁurdah Ïtah is a 1974 album by Magma/Christian Vander.
Theusz Hamtaahk is a live album by the French progressive rock band Magma, released in 2001. The album was recorded in 2000 over the course of two days during Magma's 30th anniversary shows at the Trianon theater, Paris, France and released both as a 3 audio CD box with a 16-page color booklet and libretti containing all the lyrics, and as a DVD. It is the first record to contain all three movements of the trilogy Theusz Hamtaahk:
Theatre Du Taur Concert, 1975 is an official bootleg live album by the French progressive rock group Magma. It was recorded in Toulouse on 24 September 1975 but it was not released until 1994.
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