Thursday, October 8, 2009

Magma - Extra April 1975 - Roundhouse, London

Thanks to Akoustikus once again for the scans. Here is the Google Translation (take it for what it's worth) :

MAGMA London
London Magmania

Sunday, February 23, Magma crown his UK tour at the Roundhouse in London. At each concert, the British public has made a triumphant welcome to Christian Vander and his new band. The Roundhouse will be no exception. In this superb circus has long been devoted to music, 2000 people express their approval at the end of each song, cheering the solos Vander and standing long recall group at the end of the set.

In part, Ash Ra Tempel was very well received. The group is now a duo after the departure of John Strawn (still present at their last concert at Wagram), Manuel Gottsching and Lutz Ullbrich each hold a guitar and are backed by prerecorded tapes. "Two, work is much more difficult but much more exciting. When you're with a group, if one stops to take a moment, it's not really serious. Now it is possible. If one of us stops, everything is finished. This will require more concentration. But ultimately, this higher concentration is ultimately beneficial for the music, "Lutz said in substance after the set of Ash Ra Tempel. Their latest album, announces a new color for the musical duo, hopefully they will continue together and do not give way once more to this dance of separation / dissolution appears to be a major feature of German groups, After them, a appointed Batiato playing with electronic gadgets is soon repackage.

The roadies are finalizing equipment Magma. This concert is of course important for the group. Unfortunately for the musicians, a series of incidents is troubling him. First is the snare, then Charleston Vander having problems, then a microphone to his voice that does not work, finally the thread connecting her to a baffle of pianos is cut. Fortunately, the public does not see anything, except perhaps replacing the Charleston Vander while executing one of the most intense moments of his solo. At the end of the concert, it was a little tired of these setbacks which had devolved some musicians. For them this was not the best concert of the tour. For the public, deprived of this comparator, it was a great show.

Giorgio Gomelski, group manager for several years after having served, among others, the Stones in their infancy and Julie Driscoll has done things. Outside the Roundhouse, the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio recording the concert, a prelude perhaps to a live album of Magma.

The new Magma

Vander dissolved the previous group to form a new, two months ago, around the nucleus it is with his wife Stella and Klaus, the singer. The new musicians are great musicians, very young, still unknown. And the violinist, who is 18 years young virtuoso who has already jammed with people like McLaughlin. The group therefore includes eight members: Christian Klaus (voice and percussion), Stella (vocals), two musicians on keyboards, a bassist, a guitarist and violinist whose contribution to the band's sound is far from negligible.

Onstage, the band is dressed in black, some musicians have the logo of Magma, not all. The new formation, with only a little over a month of rehearsals, is already one of the best bands that have surrounded since early Vander of Magma. The next album will certainly witness.

Magma remains faithful to, esoteric world that is nevertheless a mirror of ours. The voice of Klaus and Stella are always written in Kobaïen, language that has been accused of all evils: gimmick, easy French powerless before the phonetic structure and bracing their language ... It is so easy to mock or to condemn than to try to understand! The Kobaïen Vander and his patience in preparing, enriching it with new words, new sounds that each express a meaning which can find its equivalent in any language. Nougaro affirms belief that his songs will be considered one days at the Sorbonne, I would not be surprised if the same adventure (or misadventure) arrived at Kobaïen. It is not impossible that linguists are addressing one days on the expressionist language based on the evocative power of certain sounds and the tone in which they are uttered. The most surprising is that more listening and watching Klaus sing, we can understand what he says. Single company - or almost, I advise fans to listen to a disc by Luciano Berio in which his wife, Cathy Berberian interprets a special song, "Face", year during which it makes the voice the various possible expressions of a face joy, laughter, pain, hate ... - which is both the challenge factor Horse and research scholars of the esoteric to the Great Work.

Magical Mystery Tour

This exceeds the company or rather darkness is as obscurantist as the times in which we live. Magma is not going to bleat at the feet of Jesus (who is Jesus? The latest news, this is a brand of jeans!). If the group often plays loud music, full of hatred, is to return us our image as a world of violence and hate. This picture of reality combines with that of the essence of reality, a reality higher than the emotions is more likely to perceive that the intellect. Hence the kobaïen, language of pure emotion. Where the music composed by Vander, lyrical, powerful, profound.

Initiation only show, the music takes the audience, hypnotizes. But again, the word initiation should not be misled. This music introduces us first to ourselves, not some muddy metaphysics. At bottom of each lies the Great Work that digs the music of Magma. The alchemy of music somehow.

The grave of musicians, this invitation to the mystery or magic they seem to be the attitude scenic Klaus and Stella playing their votes to hold speeches / invocations to themselves and the public, their movements broken, syncopated take us back to our tragic reality of clowns. Klaus when he plays the drums as much to offer worship to the eye than the ear: he wields as sacred objects, maintains them with a physical, treats them as totems, such that they really are, since they are the intermediary between the public and the music / revelation. It is also the case when Christian takes a drum solo. He listens, talks to her, punishes a game more violent when it did not meet his expectations (and when the Charleston and have dropped the microphone).

Violence and aggression in the music of Magma is never free: the volume is, for example, maintained at a reasonable power, it is not the volume of noise that must rise to the public reaction. Similarly, the violent passages in the chorus crescendos and aggressive are not the only tone: we hear during the concert a bit slow to be included in the next album and where Vander keeps the electric piano. A wonder (this is called "rain").

King Vander

Music subtle. Music confluence like "Return to Forever", of "Mabavishnu" and many others that incorporates elements of various genres of the past Jazzist Christian is evident in his solos, the harmonies of classical music of the early the twenty-first century (Stravinsky, among others) permeate compositions, the last beat of rock supporting the scaffolding. They said that the music of Magma was pretentious. Not true, especially with the new group. It was probably confused a few moments of focus are mainly the result of the game scene Klaus with the general tone of the music that is often full of humility.

As for Christian Vander, drummer, is a marvel of subtlety and intelligence. He has a rare quality, he puts the music before his instrument. Thus the group's repertoire includes several passages without battery. He knows how to give way to other musicians when necessary, and this gives the music of a variety of colors extremely varied.

Billy Cobham said of Vander it was one of three best drummers in the world after him. Modesty is matched only by that of his game but what he says is true Vander.He gave us a solo extraordinary London, first with only the drums, and with cymbals, with the last while. He is perfectly sound instrument, do not let away by the exhilaration of virtuosity. Thus he finds a particularly violent to snare a cymbal crash of a rare delicacy. The most moving moment was the solo cymbals Vander literally singing his drums playing different sounds on the cymbals with one hand while he maintains a steady pulse on the other. Why not say is probably the first time I fully appreciated a drum solo and I do not feel trapped by a stylist hollow. I dream of a meeting Vander / Stanley Clarke ...

Magma is at present the best French group. This is certainly one of the ten best bands in the world. The world begins to notice. France Will it be the last to know?

Etienne Blondet
Extra n° 53 - Avril 1975


  1. Does he mean "[Franco] Battiato", probably?

  2. Probably.

    By the way, here is an extract from an interview on the Ash Ra Temple website ( :

    John Wilby (UK): I saw ASH RA TEMPEL at the Roundhouse in London in 1975 (I think it was, supporting Magma). You blew my mind by walking onto the stage with candles in holders as your lightshow. This was so effective and so right for your music. Your music is very simple and very effective. What do you have to say about simplicity/effectiveness? What is your viewpoint on this question? My other question about this occasion is "Who was the other guitarist at this gig?"

    MG: I remember the Roundhouse concert very well. It was our first small tour in England with very little money, just Lutz Ulbrich and me. When we arrived for the first concert in Guildford there were some people at the backstage entrance welcoming us and asking: "Where's the truck?" (to unload the equipment). They were quite impressed when we shrugged our shoulders and said: "Sorry, there is no truck!" All our equipment was packed in our VW beetle, two keyboards, two guitars, a Revox A77 for the echoes, a mini mixer, and of course the legendary candle-holders.

    It was in a review from England about one of my earlier albums (I don't remember which one) when somebody wrote "simple but effective", and I liked the term a lot. To create something new out of very few ingredients is a challenge for me and in my opinion it can give more inspiration to people than excessive use of material. Of course you can produce a great show with tons of equipment, twenty five trucks and your own hair-dresser, but often people are disappointed because the expectations are equally high, and some will merely say: if I had all this...

    The other guitar player in London as aforementioned was Lutz Ulbrich (LüüL). He was co-founder of the Berlin band Agitation Free (with Chris Franke - later Tangerine Dream). He joined ASH RA TEMPEL for a first concert in Paris, December 1974, and we are good friends and partners ever since. We played only as a duo in 1975, in 1977 I shortened the name to ASHRA and Harald Grosskopf joined the band on drums, now becoming a trio. Although being more familiar with the rhythm guitar, Lutz had been a fantastic counterpart to perform the compositions from the Inventions for Electric Guitar period and later the keyboard parts from New Age Of Earth.

  3. I am looking for a recording of the concert, I'm interested in the part where it sounds Battiato. can you help me?