Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rare Magma Video from 72, 75 and 76 Released on YouTube

From the vaults of INA come these amazing, fantastic archives from Magma from the early and mid 1970s. The video from 1972 is from the Dixie Club in Montpellier. Two of the snippets are from the Theater de Taur concert in Toulouse in late September 1975. Another snippet is allegedly from early 1976.

INA is the gift that keeps on giving. An incredible amount of amazing live footage has been made available since they decided to open up their vaults a few years ago.

There is one other 5 minute clip from 1972 that might be floating around. Also, there are rumors that a Russian collector has some clips from 1976 featuring the VanderTop incarnation of the group.

Every year, we manage to get new surprises. Last year was the KA Rehearsals. This year is the release of the INA videos.

Stella ... make us happy in 2012 !!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Magma Family - Le Triton, July 2, 2011

Once again, Mr. Issehn has shared a nice video of the people (band and fans) who were present at the recent series of concerts at Le Triton. I will give you one nickel for each fan that you recognize.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rare Video - Art Zoyd and Univers Zero - Nancy Jazz Pulsations, 1980

I do not know where my friend Rafael found this ... but here is an amazing video of Univers Zero and Art Zoyd playing at the Nancy Jazz Pulsations Festival in 1980.

This video must have just been uncovered, because both Guy Segers (ex UZ bass) and Gerard Hourbette (Art Zoyd) said that they had never seen this video before.

Are there any more videos of UZ and AZ out there?

I have said it once and I will say it again .... when rare videos like this are uncovered, it gives me hope that more videos of old Magma will surface.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Few of the Recent Le Triton Shows are on DIME

User "shadow" from Italy posted a number of the concerts from the recent Retrospective series at Le Triton. He has posted concerts 5 through 8.

Here is his generic description of all of the shows:

'Mythes et légendes-Le retour'
Le Triton, Les Lilas (France)
July 2, 2011

Eight hours of music, four separate two-hour concerts. This was the challenge Christian Vander laid down to his musicians in January 2005. They picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. Full houses for three weeks representing the essential repertoire of the mythical Magma: 'Mythes et légendes'. The concerts were filmed and 4 dvds, Epok 1-2-3-4, were released between 2006 et 2007. 

A few days ago The Triton at Les Lilas (near Paris) had Magma back for a 'résidence' during which they assembled more than an hour's worth of material composed between 1971 and 1979 which did not appear on the 4 Epok disks. The result has been heard over the series of 8 concerts, some of which have been filmed to complete the dvd collection.

This is Day 8 - July 2, 2011.

Christian Vander : drums, voice on 'Félicité Thosz'
Stella Vander : voice, percussion
Isabelle Feuillebois : voice, percussion
Hervé Aknin : voice, percussion
Bruno Ruder : Fender Rhodes
Benoit Alziary : vibraphone, theremin
James Mac Gaw : guitar, Fender Rhodes on 'MDK singalong'
Philippe Bussonnet : bass guitar

set 1 [50.55]

1-01. special intro (Merci d'être venu ce soir)
1-02. Attahk (a.k.a. Retrovision)
1-03. applause, talk
1-04. Riah Sahiltaahk
1-05. applause, talk (intermission)

set 2 [89.00]

2-01. Dondai
2-02. applause, talk
2-03. Felicite Thosz
2-04. Slag Tanz
2-05. applause, band introduction
2-06. (encore) Maahnt
2-07. applause, talk
2-08. special conclusion (MDK singalong)

master, audience recording
Edirol R09 (internal mics) > SoundForge 9.0 (tracking) > Trader's Little Helper (FLACs and checksum file)
this torrent * July 13, 2011 * shadow 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RIP Francois "Faton" Cahen

Francois "Faton" Cahen, the first piano player of Magma, and a contributor to their first two albums, passed away today of a heart attack. He was also a long-time collaborator with Yochko Seffer.

RIP Faton.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reflections on Le Triton from Tim

A Cup of Tim has posted a series of images, each image summing up his reflection of each piece that Magma played at Le Triton.

Click on each image to reveal the song.

Can you guess which song is depicted below?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sheet Music - The Bass Part to Dondai (Thanks to Bruno Maignan)

Transcriptions reprinted with the kind permission of Bruno "Kaiser" Maignan

Monday, July 4, 2011

Magma Retrospective at Le Triton - June 30, July 1 and 2, 2011 - My Review

After spending two days in Athens (right before the Parliamentary vote), and another ten days in assorted Greek Islands (Crete, Milos, Mykonos, and Santorini), I found myself once again aboard a flight to that strange country known as France, a country so strange that they don’t have Perp Walks. I took a slight detour from Greece to the USA so that I could see the latest series of Retrospective concerts from Magma.

I am at the point now where I have seen Magma enough times (for an American) that I use the Magma shows as an excuse to go and see my French Zeuhl friends, the ones that I have made over the years of seeing Magma shows, trading tapes, and being friends on FB. We always try to have one big Zeuhl Lunch during the concerts, and this time was no exception. Lunch was at Louchebem, in the Les Halles section of Paris. This restaurant is a tribute to meat, and I seem to have impressed my French friends by ordering Terrine de Tete de Veau with Sauce Gribbish as an appetizer.

(left to right .. Jeannie, Snukehr, Zess, Barfix, Eugen, Rapideye, Muriel, Magmasystems, Issehn, Alain)

It was good also to catch up with my friend, Marco Tchamp, who used to do a lot of photography for Magma. Marco has two ventures that he is working on now. He is cooking made-to-order macaroons in all sort of flavors, and he also just published a beautiful book of photos of the concentration camps of Poland. I visited some of the camps a few years ago, and the book really does bring back memories.

Magma is going to be coming out with another DVD in their Retrospective series, and the next DVD will feature this current show. They also are going to have some filmed interviews with Magma fans from around the world. If I don’t piss off Francis and Stella in the next few months, you might even get to see yours truly.

As always, there were the odd international fans that managed to find their way to Paris for the show. There was someone from Holland, three fans from Norway (including one from upper Norway, close to the Arctic Circle), and I heard that the previous week, one intrepid fan from Japan. I think I was the only Yank there, and there were definitely two Brits in attendance.

All were crammed into Le Triton for two weeks. For the three nights that I was there, there was standing-room only. Lots of people packed at the bar. It was extremely hot at Le Triton, and from Maxence told me, there was a flu that was going around. I caught a bit of it after Saturday night’s show. Suggestion to the owners of Le Triton … invest in an air conditioner.

The setlist was exactly the same each night. No variations at all.

  • Retrovision
  • Riah Sahiltaahk
  • Dondai
  • Felicite Thosz
  • Slag Tanz
  • Maahnt

In my opinion, the setlist reflected the current tendency in Magma to move back to the more vocal, Offering-like period. Pieces like Retrovision and Dondai tend to emphasize the vocal aspect a lot more, and Vander seemed to be more subdued behind the drum kit than I ever remembered.

Retrovision came from my least favorite period in Magma history, the era in which they sprouted strange costumes and fashioned themselves as a soul band. The male singer (Herve, in this case) goes into some sort of Master-of-Ceremonies rap, from what I could tell, while a funky beat backs him up. There are some moments of Zeuhl that come through for about 5 minutes in the middle, but to me, this song does not represent the Zeuhl aspect of Magma, and the lyrics are a bit confusing ("On a dit Magma n'est pas la?")

This was followed by Riah, a monumental work that was the cornerstone of the 1001 album. The band was on fire on this piece. Very tight. The guitar took most of the horn parts, which was a bit of a shame, since I saw both Guillame Perret (of Electric Epic) and Mederic Collignon hanging around Le Triton, and I was hoping that Christian drafted them to do the horns. Nevertheless, a big kudo to James for handling these parts. I put a few video clips up on YouTube of some of Riah, so let me know what you think.

Thank the Lord for the intermission, because by that time, everyone was about to pass out from the heat. Grabbed a Pelforth (a French beer), and went outside for air. Good vibes, Magma fans milling around, discussing how great Riah was. Seeing Riah performed made the trip worthwhile.

After intermission, a short Dondai. Again, continuing along the lines of soulful vocals. Not much to report here.

Then came Felicite Thosz. Readers of this blog know that I am not a big fan of this piece, and Francis Linon was teasing me after one of the shows by saying that they were going to play FT for me three times the next night. I detected a slight increase in the power level during the opening bits, but that increase was neutralized by the length of Bruno’s piano solo each of the three nights. The piano solo seemed to be extended for some reason, and because of the steamy conditions at Le Triton, it was a bit tortuous to listen to streams of arpeggios for ten minutes. Sorry, Bruno … you’re a really good keyboardist, and the solo had some good ideas in it, but it was a bit too much, especially with the celeste-like tone of the piano.

Next up was Slag Tanz. I have noticed that this piece has continually improved since I first saw Magma perform it at Le Casino in February 2009. Now, the piece is total madness. The three vocalists were shaking maracas and screaming during the entire piece, which gave the piece an “Evil Steve Reich” kind a feeling … which is a good thing! The vocal lines are more composed, and you can detect more counterpoint in the vocal lines. Magma will be going into the studio soon to record their next album (which will contain ST and FT), and it will be a challenge for Francis to reproduce the excitement that you get when you witness Slag Tanz in a live setting.

The encore for each of the nights was Maahnt. The first night clocked in at only 3 minutes, but the next two nights saw the band jamming out a bit on the Maahnt theme. Great playing by Bussonnet on this piece, and Herve tried to implement as many of the sound effects as possible. Benoit Alziary had a Theremin set up behind him, so he was able to reproduce that important effect from the album.

One thing that I have to say about Benoit is that he seems to have stepped up and is playing an important part in the new era of Magma. He was the arranger for the student-led jazz band that performed E-R back in January 2011, and he will be arranging additional Magma pieces for another student-led orchestra concert that will take place at Le Triton on December 16th.

My biggest disappointment was that Magma did not play Mekanik Machine as the second encore on Saturday night. My fantasy was that Jannick Top was going to appear on stage and rip into the bass line of MM. Bussonnet would have been a very capable second choice. It was leaked through the grapevine that Magma was going to perform MM, and I was disheartened when the lights went on after the encore on Saturday night.

I asked Memo about this, and if I understood his French correctly (which is always a big challenge for me), he said that Magma did not have enough time to practice because the new pieces were difficult.

I noticed was that some of the musicians and vocalists were reading from sheet music. This tended to lead me to think that these pieces were put together a bit quickly, too quickly for the musicians to completely memorize everything and for the vocalists to memorize all of the Kobaian lyrics. This would lead me to believe that Memo was correct. Vander, the perfectionist that he is, would not have wanted Mekanik Machine to be played if it was anything less than perfect.

Three nights of the same setlist was a bit much, but seeing Riah and Maahnt performed live made it worthwhile. The band was in top form, they seemed to have a good time, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves, it was a good atmosphere despite the stifling heat, and overall, it was worth the trip to Paris.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Short Update from Paris

This is my final day in Paris, and tonight, Magma ends their recent two-week Retrospective series of concerts at Le Triton. So far, the setlist has remained exactly the same, but tonight, I hope that Magma will surprise the audience.

I will be posting my impressions of the concerts when I return home and I am not forced to type on my iPad. Meanwhile, I have uploaded a few videos to YouTube. Search for the user id Vandertop2.