Jazz Related Rock / RnB • France
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Led by classically trained drummer Christian Vander, the Paris-based Magma have been, in their way, perhaps the ultimate progressive rock group; while other artists have achieved greater commercial success and critical acclaim, Magma have typified the many ambitions and excesses of the genre that won them as many detractors as fans, even going so far as to invent their own lyrical and musical language in order to bring their unique vision to life. The son of a jazz pianist, Vander initially followed in his father's footsteps, modeling his technique on the work of John Coltrane alum Elvin Jones and starting his career with a number of jazz and R&B outfits. While in Paris in 1969, however, he was struck by a vision of Earth's spiritual and ecological future so disturbing to him that he decided to explore his fears by musical means, assembling Magma with the aid of wife and read more...
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MAGMA Discography

MAGMA albums / top albums

MAGMA Magma (aka Kobaïa) album cover 4.25 | 6 ratings
Magma (aka Kobaïa)
Jazz Related Rock 1970
MAGMA 2 (aka 1001° Centigrades) album cover 4.59 | 9 ratings
2 (aka 1001° Centigrades)
Jazz Related Rock 1971
MAGMA Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh album cover 4.45 | 11 ratings
Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
Jazz Related Rock 1973
MAGMA Üdü Ẁüdü album cover 3.93 | 6 ratings
Üdü Ẁüdü
Jazz Related Rock 1976
MAGMA Attahk album cover 3.33 | 6 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1978
MAGMA Merci album cover 2.65 | 4 ratings
RnB 1984
MAGMA Mekanïk Kommandöh album cover 3.54 | 4 ratings
Mekanïk Kommandöh
Jazz Related Rock 1989
MAGMA K.A album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 2004
MAGMA Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré album cover 3.92 | 4 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 2009
MAGMA Félicité Thösz album cover 4.79 | 3 ratings
Félicité Thösz
Jazz Related Rock 2012
MAGMA Zess album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 2019
MAGMA Kãrtëhl album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 2022

MAGMA EPs & splits

MAGMA Slag Tanz album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Slag Tanz
Jazz Related Rock 2015

MAGMA live albums

MAGMA Köhntarkösz album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1974
MAGMA Live album cover 4.00 | 6 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1975
MAGMA Inedits album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1977
MAGMA Rétrospective Vol. 1 & 2 album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Rétrospective Vol. 1 & 2
Jazz Related Rock 1981
MAGMA Retrospective Vol. 3 album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Retrospective Vol. 3
Jazz Related Rock 1981
MAGMA 3.25 | 2 ratings
"Les Voix" - Concert 1992 Douarnenez
Jazz Related Rock 1992
MAGMA Bobino Concert 1981 album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Bobino Concert 1981
Jazz Related Rock 1995
MAGMA Théâtre Du Taur - Concert 1975 - Toulouse album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Théâtre Du Taur - Concert 1975 - Toulouse
Jazz Related Rock 1996
MAGMA Concert 1971 - Bruxelles - Théâtre 140 album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Concert 1971 - Bruxelles - Théâtre 140
Jazz Related Rock 1996
MAGMA Concert 1976 - Opéra De Reims album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Concert 1976 - Opéra De Reims
Jazz Related Rock 1996
MAGMA BBC - Radio - Londres 1974 album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
BBC - Radio - Londres 1974
Jazz Related Rock 1999
MAGMA Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie
Jazz Related Rock 2001
MAGMA Bourges 1979 album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Bourges 1979
Jazz Related Rock 2008
MAGMA Live In Tokyo album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Live In Tokyo
Jazz Related Rock 2009
MAGMA Köhnzert Zünd album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Köhnzert Zünd
Jazz Related Rock 2015
MAGMA Eskahl 2020 : Live in Bordeaux/Toulouse/Perpignan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Eskahl 2020 : Live in Bordeaux/Toulouse/Perpignan
Jazz Related Rock 2021

MAGMA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MAGMA re-issues & compilations

MAGMA Mythes Et Légendes Vol.1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes Vol.1
Jazz Related Rock 1985
MAGMA Kompila album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1997
MAGMA Simples album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 1998
MAGMA Spiritual album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Related Rock 2000
MAGMA Über Kommandoh album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Über Kommandoh
Jazz Related Rock 2004
MAGMA Studio Zünd album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Studio Zünd
Jazz Related Rock 2008

MAGMA singles (0)

MAGMA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

MAGMA Reviews

MAGMA Félicité Thösz

Album · 2012 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
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.

MAGMA Mekanïk Kommandöh

Album · 1989 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
After a pair of wild and unhinged jazz-rock fusion albums that introduced the world to the strange world of the fictitious world of Kobaia invented by the fertile mind of founder and drumming leader Christian Vander, he and his band MAGMA streamlined their sound significantly. Although their self-invented zeuhl sound had emerged already on the first album, it was a subordinate element surrounded by a smorgasbord of a million others. On their third album “Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh“ the band created their first album that totally fit in with their new found focused sound and in the process created their most acclaimed record even ranking as 33rd greatest French rock album of all time according to Rolling Stone. Despite those impressive creds, the album didn’t start out so perfect and the band originally turned in a more stripped down version in early 1973 but was refused by the record company and who sent them back to the drawing board which would end up finally being released in December of the same year.

MEKANÏK KOMMANDÖH is that stripped down first version of “Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh“ and was released in 1989 at the tail end of a decade of laying low when the progressive rock world trickled down to a mere pittance of its former 70s heyday. The similarities between the two releases is obvious but the differences are staggering in their impact. While the second rendition contained a whopping 13 members which included brass, flute, bass clarinet and seven vocal parts, the first version MEKANÏK KOMMANDÖH included a modest seven members with only three of them uttering vocalizations of any sort. One of the greatest differences in this version is the introduction where Christian Vander offers some sort of Kobaian speech that sounds like some sort of declaration of war in their invented language which was nixed from the more famous “Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh.“

Despite being a good decision to release it in a more perfect form, MEKANÏK KOMMANDÖH gives a clue to the intent of the music somewhat. This album in its stripped down form really sounds like some sort of Teutonic march across the lands on their way to plunder, pillage and lay waste to any village that stands in its way. This is more pronounced as Vander’s virtuosic drum antics are more in the forefront minus the inclusion of the smoothing out effect of the horn sections. While more dramatic in nature, this version also has the tendency to become a bit monotonous as well as somewhere around twenty minutes into the thunderous march the vocal tradeoffs tend to seem a little silly as the call-and-response effect carry on and on and on a wee bit too long and with minimal instrumental distractions to be found makes it all the more prominent. While the instruments are scarce by comparison, Zander rocks the house as expected but also of high caliber are the combo effect of bassist Jean Pierre Lambert and Jean Luc Manderlier’s phenomenal piano and organ segments.

MEKANÏK KOMMANDÖH can only be taken as supplemental MAGMA material for as good as it is, it pales in comparison to the more MAGMA-nanimous “Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh.“ I feel the original record company made the right decision to put these guys back to work as this version in its proto-scaffolding form sounds way too much like the Karl Orff cantina “Carmina Burana” which has always provided a wealth of influence in the overall Magma sound. Without all those jazzy brassy instruments adding extra layers of atmosphere and counter-bombast, the overall feel comes off as a bona fide Orff tribute album albeit more in a rock context. While personally these kinds of releases from the vaults type of albums don’t usually do it for me, this one is an interesting way to hear how the ideas were layered over time.

I came across this one in a very strange way. This was my first MAGMA album which i mistook for “Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh.“ My initial reaction was a scratching of the head because i couldn’t figure out why it was deemed in such high regard. Once i figured out that this was nothing more than a rough draft / first edition and finally heard the final cut, it all made sense. I avoided this one for a while simply because of that bad taste involved but now that i’m checking it out in a fresh clean slate, i have to admit that it’s actually a pretty good album in its own right, it’s just not on par with the much improved second rendition. Definitely a must for MAGMA fans but certainly not the place to begin exploration of their discography and eccentric career. Just be careful and don’t assume that everything with the two invented words MEKANÏK KOMMANDÖH in the title are the same. Even the bonus track of the same name on newer editions of “Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh“ is a different version. Now how’s that for confusing? Ugh.

MAGMA Magma (aka Kobaïa)

Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock
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This was the double album debut from Magma. At this early stage they were basically a jazz rock group who happened to use Christian Vander's imaginary Kobaian language, and strange vocalizations heard periodically throughout the album. The Kobain mythology already starts here (in which I'm not an expert, unlike some of the Magma faithful), but the Zeuhl elements in the music hasn't fully developed (that would have to wait until 1973 with Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh). Stella Vander has yet to become a member of the band (apparently she recorded some pop-oriented singles around the mid '60s in her teens that give absolutely no clue what she'd be doing in the '70s). Also the band feature Francis Moze on bass, who appeared on Gong's Flying Teapot, and later on, Gazeuse (Expresso for American buyers). I have to say this double album is a prime example of the band biting off a bit more than they could chew. Sure there's some fantastic moments, but there also what sounds like filler to my ears. I do like the fact flute is used, which is not typical for Magma, plus there's more guitar than usual (guitar usually never played much a role in Magma's music, perhaps because Christian Vander's jazz-influenced approach). It's not bad, but sounds like room for improvement to be made here, and improve they did, so this debut probably isn't the best place to start if you're not familiar with Magma.

MAGMA Attahk

Album · 1978 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
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.


Album · 1984 · RnB
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siLLy puPPy
Wow! Is this MAGMA? Christian Vander, are you there somewhere?!! Did the Kobaians beam you all back up to your planet? Or did they implant those dreaded disco soul chips in you again. What can we think of the most hated album in the MAGMA discography. After the excellent run of originality and channeling of otherworldly forces that lasted from their debut in 1970 to “Üdü Wüdü’ in 1976, it seems even advanced technology could not help the Kobaians hold back the backlash that dethroned progressive leaning music of the early 70s. While some bands like King Crimson were wise enough to call it a day before the great shift, others who stuck around found themselves watering down their output album by album, whittling away their loyal fan bases and becoming shallow caricatures of their innovative glory years.

Even the Kobains succumbed to these pressures as heard on the watered down “Attahk” in 1978, add to that the financial pressures of operating such a huge number of musicians on board with an ever chaining cast of members and it’s really not hard to imagine the temptation to dummy down the innovations and go for the gold in the highly profitable pop music world of the 80s. Perhaps a good idea at the time but considering this is a whole different band of musicians on board (at least 25!), Vander could have had the decency to at least release this under a different moniker that wouldn’t tarnish the image of one of the 70s’ most unique forces in the prog world. After six years of inactivity the album was a hodgepodge of tracks recorded throughout the early 80s and at this point Vander was bored with the whole MAGMA thing anyway and after the release of MERCI would suspend activities with the band and focus on his jazz-fusion oriented Offering albums.

“Call From The Dark” begins the album and after a few tinkles of some strings and immediately begins what sounds like something you would hear on a disco soul album around 1979 leaving a first time listener accustomed to all the zeuhlisciousness of previous MAGMA offerings totally bewildered and just a few notes away from pumping out “Boogie Wonderland.” While the music itself is perfectly decent for that type of sound, complete with beautiful vocals, a horn section to die for and a nice booty shakin’ rhythmic section, it’s like whoa!!! Is this MAGMA? WTF?

The second track “Otis” is less danceable and at least has a faint trace of the vocal trade offs of Vander and female vocalists from the past, but this song is particularly weak although perhaps acceptable for aging Kobaians in nursing homes or doctor’s offices. Vander’s screams in the middle sound like a mating cat and totally out of step with this mellow repetitive soul music. “Do The Music” is a rather strange little track as it sounds like zeuhl is battling it out with disco leaving the listener with no clear winner but admittedly a unique experiment that does make me think of going to the disco on Kobaia! I mean, they need to get a little light now and again too! “Otis (ending)” is a gospel sounding organ track with Vander screeching. Hmmm. No comment.

The one long track on here “Eliphas Levi” is the anomaly. It actually feels more like the zeuhl music we were expecting albeit more serene, pacified and stripped down in both instrumentation and feel. It does however have those ratcheting vocal deliveries that build in repetition accompanied by piano and percussion. This one is actually pretty enjoyable although very much on simmer as opposed to the full intense pyroclastic flow MAGMA usually delivers as the track drags on for over eleven minutes and feels like it never gets up to expected speed. The vocals are quite pleasant though and this is probably the best track on board and has a pleasant complex interchange at the end.

The album ends with the appropriately titled “The Night We Died” suggesting a now neutered MAGMA calling it a day and throwing in the towel. This is basically a sombre piano ballad with the Kobain females singing in unison. Overall i end with the same impression as i began. WTF? This album is too mellow for its own good. Nothing on here is bad per se but for a band that carved its own niche in music and continued to ratchet it up album by album, this is surely a let down. After hearing this, it’s very hard to believe they would come back stronger than ever 20 years down the road.

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