MAGMA: to save a music
Again, not enough world for the concert which Magma on May 7 gave, which was a surprise for me besides which thought that the group would have attracted more than three hundred faithful. The public included/understood of more than many musicians journalists who did not have to make increase the receipt. Giorgio Gomelsky, in the small speech that he pronounced at the beginning of the second part, did not fail to ironically underline the “serious one with which Philips had made the posting and the promotion in this concert”, specifying that Magma had reflected a long time before deciding to pass to Olympia. A speech from where it arose that Magma was those which were going to save the music of this country and to make known it with the rest of the world. While leaving, each one was to go “to carry the fine words”, each one “was to return to the musicians a little what the musicians give to their public, by helping them, by making known them around oneself, since that is not possible by the ordinary means, radio, clubs, TV”. Gomelsky also spoke about the success gained by Magma in the Houses of the Culture where the group of product regularly several times per week, which enables him to touch an interesting public since it seems definitely impossible to await any effort on behalf of the academics, that the music does not interest. Or, at least, do not seek they to make known it around them. Gomelsky is right perfectly and, under these conditions, it appears quite unjust to blame the musicians and the groups who must, to remain, to use the circuit of the balls. Their music ends up feeling some, their ambition blunts with long. It is without any doubt on this level which should be tried to include/understand the problem of the French groups: Martin Circus would not have required for the “Indians” if it had had to occur regularly in the universities. Magma presented a spectacle in two parts, the first being devoted, except for a piece, with the “Voyage towards Kobaïa”, hope to discover a planet where the relations between the men would be more normal. The group used all scenic space available and one saw the dark silhouettes very distinctly being detached on a screen where one projected the “logo” of Magma, this stylized claw. Motionless Francis Moze, Vander which, all its height dominates its instrument, and three coppers, aligned well, are the actors of a kind of pagan mass known as in a primitive language, succession of deformed sonorities, twisted by the throat of Klaus. It is however strange to note that these unknown words, when they are several times repeated of at a stretch, and that often arrives, take the consonance of words French, or English, and incomprehension disappears at the same time as any hermetism. Even if they are not included/understood, one is not disturbed any more by their strangeness.
The vocal ones are an element of most dominating of the music of Magma. They are not with the variation of the music but are integrated into it as well as the melody parts carried out by Cahen, Vander or three coppers. Each instrument, in extreme cases, plays part of agreement, part of a musical vibration, and it will be noticed besides that the music of Magma contains only little chorus. Coppers are thus in a rather vulnerable position because their function resides primarily in the execution of fronts which point out sometimes the sections of Stax. From there to think that the music of Magma is in the final analysis not as original as one agreed to claim it, there is only one step which one once does not cross after having heard the group in his life, for the reasons mentioned above.
The second part of this concert was mainly devoted to very long “Mekanïk Kommandöh”, the part which, until now, seems the most completed and most representative of the music of Magma. For this piece, the group was reinforced with an organist, a second beater and six chorus-singers, and the result passed very close to the imposing one. These ad infinitum repeated words, in harmonies which went up by successive stages, broken by formidable blows of battery, these choruses which went increasing itself, each one adding its own voice to it, produced something of splendid. Vander stopped it brutally, éructant the terrible judgment which the Tyrant utters, but the Beauty was born again from this crashing to pieces chaos, beauty not born with the excellence of an instrumentalist, as it is in general the case, but indeed with the coherence of a unit. Solos, there was all the same, and particularly interesting was that of the flutist Teddy Lasry who duplicated the sound of his instrument by singing notes which did not correspond exactly to those emitted by metal. It is certainly not a new technique, but Lasry shows that it has it completely comparable and never fall into the trap from the easy and spectacular effect. Vander is, spectacular, but it is only one consequence of its approach of the instrument, which it dominates, repeat it, unlike the majority of the beaters, very often hidden behind a multitude of cases or cymbals that they use only partially. The first part of its solo was devoted to the cymbals whose it explored all the possibilities, by drawing an infinite variety from sounds, according to whether it ran up, rubbed or cherished metal in such or such place, in such or such direction. So many and so that the impact rods were not distinguished any more this sound profusion from which were born from the melodies, of the true music. Then, using the skins, Vander still proved with more force its immense qualities of technician and the incredible control of its gestures, carried out by members completely independent but guided by a lucid will despite everything its madness.
A room as full as for Grateful Dead would have made a triumph in this splendid concert. Those which were present, in spite of their enthusiasm, did not manage to make vibrate the place, suddenly immense. It was a superhuman task, just like is that of Magma, groups which tries to save a music.
Rock'n'roll & Folk n° 65 - June 1972