Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

The Official MAGMA (& Christian Vander) Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Plan9, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Hi all.

    I decided to create this new thread after having seen in the archives several other threads (now abandoned) concerning the great music of the french progressive rock band MAGMA. It made me realise that there may well be fans from other parts of the world on this forum. :help:

    Being a fan myself, I'd like to recommend to any amateurs of progressive rock this formidable group that started in the 70's and is still active today, touring, and making new and challenging music.

    The sound of MAGMA is unique, and quite indescribable. However, this wikipedia article is a good start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magma_(band)

    There does not seem to be a lot of fans here, so if you're one, please feel free to chime in and make some contribution! :wave:

    I'll start by discussing the CD editions. It is worth mentioning that the group officially released their entire discography on their own label, Seventh Records. They're generally considered the best sounding versions that are available. However, there seemed to be a problem when the first batch of CDs were issued in the 80's, as they were apparently sourced from (bad) vinyls.
    The second batch (issued in 1993?), to our knowledge, used the original masters or safeties.

    Since, a company named "Charly" reissued certain (if not all) titles of the MAGMA catalogue in the U.S. I believe. Might someone add precisions?

    Also, recently, japanese K2HD mastered CDs were released... Anyone heard these? how do they compare?


    In an effort to clarify the situation of the MAGMA catalogue in digital, I just obtained the e-mail of Francis Linon, the official mastering and sound engineer of the band, and wrote him to ask many technical questions that are deemed interesting on this good forum. ;) Answers pending...

    :cheers:
     
  2. gilbert green

    gilbert green Forum Resident

    I own all the original LPs, and have recently bought the CDs via recommended records. Amazing stuff.

    I have a great friend who saw them at the roundhouse on a double bill with Gong. Must have been '73.

    MDK is obviously one of the greatest PROG albums.
     
  3. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Senior Member

    Location:
    NH
    I have to be in the right frame of mind for Magma. The music and the vocals are quite challenging. Listening to these guys sometimes brings images of a Nazi party running through my living room!!

    That said, the one time I saw Magma in concert I thought they were unbelievably powerful. It was a very hypnotic show. Christian Vander is an absolute monster behind the drum kit. And in front of it as well. He came out to do some scat singing during the encore and the guy puts out every ounce of his energy he has. No small feat considering he's well into his 60s.
     
    PrunelliParis likes this.
  4. rcdupre

    rcdupre Flying is Trying is Dying

    Heck yeah I'm a fan !!! I saw them in S.F. in 1999 and they blew my mind!...I have most of their seventies stuff and some unreleased live stuff, and recently got some of the Vander-Top archival live stuff, which is neat as well....:cheers: so let's do it, if a Sun Ra album by album thread can go forever, we should at least be able to keep this going for a awhile! :thumbsup:
     
  5. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France

    Hi! :wave:

    How's the sound of the original LPs?

    And which are the CDs that you've bought? how do they compare to the vinyls?

    MDK is breathtaking! One of my favorite records ever. I'm puzzled it's not more well-known among Prog lovers.
     
  6. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Christian just turned 60 on February 21 this year!

    Indeed, their concerts are a very special thing. They're hypnotic, and seem to get everybody into a transe!

    Even when I watched their "Trilogie" DVD on my little TV screen last week-end, I was overwhelmed by the power of evocation and the sheer energy that the band had!
     
  7. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Anyone ever heard the Vander Jazz Trio or Christian's other band, Offering?
     
  8. claypool

    claypool New Member

    Location:
    Finland
    I'm just getting into Magma but so far I've enjoyed their music :thumbsup: I bought the K2HD remasters of Üdü Wüdü, Attahk and Magma Live since they were pretty much the only easily available versions. The K2HDs sound ok but I've no other versions to compare to them. From what I've heard the original LPs are the best sounding versions.
     
  9. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    It wasn't all the original CDs that were sourced from bad vinyl - only 'Kohntarkosz' and MDK. Both were later reissued copied from the Japanese A&M discs, with the bonus tracks. It's just a shame there's no clue on the outside cover - no track list or copyright info or even a "remastered" sticker.

    I have the double Seventh 'Live' for the bonus tracks, but I'm not entirely convinced that it sounds better than the earlier Tomato single disc (which, by the way, DOESN'T have side-break fades in the middle of 'Kohntarkosz' - could it be taken from an earlier source tape?). It's worth it for the bonus tracks, though.

    I like everything up to 'Attahk.' I have the 'Retrospectiw' discs, but they're not great. I bought and LOATHED 'Merci' - it sounded like S Club 7! Haven't heard anything he's done since, though I am curious. I may one day ick up the DVDs or 'K.A.'
     
  10. Evan Guest

    Evan Guest Forum Resident

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I first heard about Magma in Kerry Livgren's autobiography 'Seeds of Change'.
    His short description of them as a major influence was accurate and intriguing.
    A couple of very influential friends made me some mix tapes and a full copy of
    '1.001 Centigrade' in 92'.I remember exactly where and how I was when the
    music cleared a hurdle in my mind then proceeded to change my mind forever.
    Being a big fan of original vinyl I've managed to get French LP pressings of all
    but MDK and Kohntarkosz which I have a British pressing and WLP US pressing
    of respectively.I was listening to my French Eurodisc pressing of 'Attahk' a
    while back and was amazed at the awesome sound quality.These guys cover
    much varied musical ground with excellence and brilliant originality.
     
  11. darkmatter

    darkmatter Gort Astronomer Staff

    For a listener new to Magma where would be a good place to start? :)
     
    Haggis Wampovich likes this.
  12. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Senior Member

    Location:
    NH
    "Magma: Hhai Live". A great intense double live album. As good as their studio material is, I prefer the live versions by far. Some of it almost sounds like Mahavishnu Orchestra gone to Hell. The aforementioned MDK is also excellent.
     
  13. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Yes. Vander's Jazz Trio is very much in the mold of his primary influence John Coltrane - one of their albums is called "65!" and could easily well be mistaken in a blindfold test for a jazz album of that year on the Impulse label. Offering bears a little closer relationship to Magma music, only more acoustically based (piano, sax, drums and voice). Vander mostly plays piano and sings on the Offering records rather than playing drums.

    I'd only suggest "Hhai: Live" to a new Magma listener if that person was a big fan of 1970s style jazz-fusion music. For something more "Magma" I'd suggest "Wurdah Itah" (on LP as "Tristan and Iseult"). It's very melodic and fast moving, played by a stripped-down Magma (Piano, bass and drums) and a bit more digestable than their bigger works. Their latest release, "K.A." is also a good starting point.
     
  14. darkmatter

    darkmatter Gort Astronomer Staff

    Many thanks for that :righton: , I will search for the earliest pressings I can find :)
     
  15. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Those are good recommendations. :righton:
     
  16. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    I have yet to hear "Merci" but I bet I will not find it very pleasant... :winkgrin:

    You can pick the DVDs without fear, the "Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie" especially and parts 1 or 2 of "Mythes & Légendes" DVD, as they only play their earlier stuff. (although the sound on "Trilogie" is well recorded, there is only a 2.0 Dolby Digital track that is at very low volume, and some artefacts can be heard within the quietest passages)

    "K.A." is basically music written between '72 and '73 that they've recorded in 2004, so that's all good. :)
     
  17. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Fortunately their mastering engineer may soon answer our questions about the "bad" Seventh Records editions...

    Recently I've heard an Üdü Wüdü SR (with the bonus track Emëhntëht-Rê) that didn't sound very good... I suspected it came from vinyl because I could hear suspicious pop-like sounds in the left channel... :confused:
     
  18. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toulouse, France

    There are a lot of live albums issued by Seventh Records that sound good for you to hear! and the DVDs!
     
  19. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Earliest vinyl pressings, I hope. (Utopia in the EEC, Tomato in the US)

    The first CD pressing of this was on Decal, and it was dreadful.
     
  20. Dave G.

    Dave G. Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    you must see Vander live & it will all make sense.
     
  21. rcdupre

    rcdupre Flying is Trying is Dying

    wow, I knew Kansas was Euro-prog influenced but not that deep! I liked the earlier description of it sounding like Nazis running around your living room, I would suggest the more overtly occult influenced Waffen SS as more descriptive....there's something suggestive of some future half-alien fascist movement in their music....the real trip is that their level of intensity is still as high as it was in the seventies, as you and I both know from witnessing that Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco show on 5-30-99, I swear that young guitarist they had was just about the best guitarist I've ever heard, or maybe that was the liquid or that glowing red backdrop...as for the seventies, Janick Top (who also played with Gong, they were close associates, what a show at the Roundhouse that musta been!) is an absolute bass monster !!! I don't guess they'll ever come back to Amerika but if they do I'll go wherever it is...they even played Mexico City on that 1999 tour...
     
  22. nsmith1002

    nsmith1002 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Monticello, IN USA
    I've been a fan since 1976 but have never seen them live. When I first joined this forum a year and a half ago my avatar was the cover of M.D.K. I soon changed it to the current one of Keith Moon taken from a photo my sister took in 1968.
    Anyway, in the late 1980's, before the cd re-issues, the original lp issues of the first two Magma albums were pretty hard to find. I already had 1001 degrees and I badly wanted that first double album. I ended up getting it in an auction from Wayside Music. The required minimum bid was $35, I bid $96! Sure enough, about six months later, the album was released on cd by 7th Records and Wayside got my business again for it.
    And just today I ordered the fourth dvd installment of Mythes et Legends along with the tribute cd, Hamtai! - Hommage a la Musique de Christian Vander. Again, from Wayside.
     
  23. Dave G.

    Dave G. Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    there is really a vast amount of output to dicuss with this band....primary albums, live archival documents, solo projects, offshoots etc...
    I have a whole section for Magma on my shelves.
    I never did buy MERCI though...:laugh:
     
  24. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    "Merci" isn't really all that bad - it has its moments. But if I had someone at my home who had never heard any Magma and I wanted to introduce them into the magic, I'd sit them down in front of the tube and play them the "Wurdah Itah" and MDK sections of the Trianon DVD in that order. It really makes a lot more sense if you can see them pull it off live, and that DVD catches an inspired performance, is beautifully shot and has quite good sound.

    There's one area where the Sun Ra comparison made obliquely above is really relevant. I really think Christian Vander is the only living and performing equivalent to Sun Ra - a totally original, inspired musician who has followed his own path for decades, racking up a bewildering number of records each of which, no matter who else is playing or what kind of music is on that disc, has at least a touch of something no one but him can provide.
     
  25. Dave G.

    Dave G. Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    I will have to get it I suppose to round off the collection, along with the rest of the 4 DVD series. I only have the first of those.
    I do enjoy most of the Offering albums.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine