Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Message from our friend Olvator

Dear Magma fans, and Zeuhl music collectors!

My name is OLVATOR, I think some of you might have heard or read my name by now. I have been in the lucky position to pass on numerous Magma tapes to the general public (along with some very dedicated other Magma collectors like hanwaker, juhab1, rushomancy, nadir53...just to name a few...). I would like to take this opportunity once again to talk to you all about mp3, and the distribution of mp3 sourced material of the shows that we uploaded at DIME in lossless quality.

First of all, let´s get one thing out of the way: I do not own the shows that I shared with you all. So in the end, after I uploaded them I have no more control about what will happen to them, and of course you are all free to do with them whatever you want (except for selling them!). But I want to remind you about a few things:

First of all, when people share their shows with you all (which you get for absolutely free) and when they request you not to transfer and distribute them as mp3, please respect this wish. Of course you can turn them into mp3 for private use, but not for distribution.

Some people say that it is elitist bullshit when we talk about "polluting the trading pool with mp3 sourced material". But that is only the case on first sight. It is indeed true and it is very bad for the future generations after us, who would still like to get clean copies of shows.

There are numerous shows by now which are traded as lossless which in case they are not. In the last 15 years, since all this mp3-ology has started, we have already lost many lossless sources in the Magma trading vaults. Just because people are not caring about this issue. They "remaster" concerts and do not use the proper settings in their audio software and then they upload them as flac again. Or they grab shows from blogs that use mp3 and start trading them as cdr´s. The result is very depressing.

Most of this happened because people just did not know better. It has always been the step of transferring the audio tapes to digital (to the computer) when this happened.

A few examples: the ORTF 1971 show that I uploaded on DIME some time ago. Go ahead and check it with a spectral analyzer. There is mp3 in the lineage!

The Brussels 1974 show. There is mp3 in the lineage.

Frejus 1977. Mp3 in the lineage...

There are many more examples I am sure....if we would only take the time to really check them all.

Why is this so bad? Well....because in about 20 years from now, most of the original tapers might be dead (no kidding), and then the original tapes will most likely end up in a dust bin. It has happened many times before. What then? It probably means that we will have lost the real lossless versions forever!

Imagine that sometimes in the future as technology advances, we might be able to fix hiss or other distractions and equalizing problems in a much better way then today, but the bit-rate and frequencies are not there anymore to do a proper job. All this mp3 is really a big problem for this.

If you had a master copy of a video from a TV station, would you transfer it to a small mpeg file and then throw the master away?

If you had an original manuscript by Kafka, would you typewrite it and then throw the original away?

I think that in the long run, by transferring shows to mp3 for distribution, we are not at all honouring the efforts made by the tapers and collectors themselves, we are indeed kicking them with our feet.

Today, our society wants to live life quickly. Everything has to be available NOW. Maybe it´s that. To upload and download mp3 does not take so much time. Well, ok. But don´t you think that you should be happy you get all this stuff for free?? Don´t you think it should be ok to wait for a download of flac files, even if it takes 3 hours?

The shows that you all grabbed from DIME (or that were used as a basis for mp3 distribution on blogs) were the result of intensive research to find the best available sources still around. Weeks of comparing , discussions, trying to get in touch with people,driving 900 km per day with a car, etc...have been done to present you the Magma flood. To see all these shows being distributed as mp3 is really hurting myself, as we all have always stated in the descriptions that we do not support mp3.

But even our descriptions are not always reproduced. There is even no credit to the people who did all this, when something is posted on the web. And I think it is a shame.

But as I said, I cannot change the world, and the shows do not belong to us. We have to thank the guys who recorded and preserved them for all these years. People who have lovingly preserved rare Magma tapes for more than 30 years....and now our generation comes along and turns them into mp3 cause its quicker, smaller, or whatever......

Please take a few minutes to think about this, THANK YOU!

And thank you all for keeping the music alive.



  1. there is nothing to add to olvators message.. i hope most of you agree and stop distributing mp3s thru their blogs.. it has happened to my own recordings and i hate to see it...

  2. Nice blog and a good report from the festival! Best regards from Panzerpappa-Trond

  3. Its interesting that you name Kafka, you are a true Magma fan.