Exposé Online banner

Magma — Live (Hhaï)
(Seventh Records REX X-XI, 1975/2012, 2LP)

by Rob Walker, 1995-11-01:

Live (Hhaï) Cover art

1975 saw several personnel changes in Magma's lineup, but the instrumentation which recorded the brilliant Köhntarkösz remained virtually unchanged, only adding Didier Lockwood on violin. This ensemble recorded what is generally considered Magma's strongest, most diverse, and most impressive album. The double live record contains versions of six of Magma's most appealing works, infused with even more drama, emotion, and dynamics than the studio material. An awe-inspiring full-length rendition of "Köhntark" opens the album, following the studio version closely but opening up in the second part for a frenzied violin solo from Lockwood and a short bass solo from Bernard Paganotti. The piece culminates with a rousing choral climax replacing the slower, darker conclusion to the studio recording. A new track, "Hhaï," follows, featuring a bright, optimistic repeating electric piano figure which accompanies the melody, stated through Klaus Blasquiz's inspiring vocal gymnastics and Lockwood's supple violin. The piece opens up for some electric piano soloing and builds to another dramatic vocal conclusion. Vander significantly rearranged the opening track from Magma's first album, "Kobaïa," to construct the next piece. With a prominent bass line and syncopated electric piano chords, "Kobah" has a flowing, laid-back funk feel to it, incorporating some tight violin and guitar fills. "Lïhns" is another new track, a peaceful, celestial, hymn-like piece with gentle vocals lilting over a delicate electric piano figure. The album closes with the second half of a "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" performance, beginning with a short, violent bass solo and a soaring violin solo before proceeding into the dramatic finale. This live version omits the closing choral coda. The Seventh CD release of Live also includes two extra tracks. "Da Zeuhl Wortz Mëkanïk" immediately precedes the "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" excerpt, effectively capturing about two-thirds of the full piece. "Ëmëhntëht-Rê" is another new track which begins with a haunting choral melody, leading into a rhythmically augmented variation accompanied by a repetitive violin, bass, and high-hat groove.


by Mike McLatchey, 2016-05-12:

McLatchey's Second Tier

This post will be umlaut free for efficiency. Hhai Live is the top Magma on my list if for no other reason than it was probably the first one I could sink my teeth into. My first actual Magma was the studio album Kohntarkosz which I later grow to love but found impenetrable at first. In fact my opinion remains that the band was pretty much always better on stage than in the studio, like any good, essentially, jazz band is. Magma was always a true original even from their debut but by 1975 I think it's fair to say that the sound had taken a slight turn to fusion, if only because the great violinist Didier Lockwood was in the group and certainly because the genre was in full flight by 1975. And so the studio pieces started to grow in length in areas to give the soloists time to jam a while. And the jams on this are astoundingly great. The album is dominated largely by music from their third and fourth albums but there's some excellent new material as well. It was nice when I finally got to see Magma to see them actually perform "Hhai." Is their best live album? Hard to say anymore, as Magma has to be one of the few bands who have managed to reform and be just as good and sometimes even better than they were in the 70s, and there's lots of great documents to show for it. But this one's like returning home.


Filed under: New releases , 2012 releases, 1975 releases

Related artist(s): Magma, Stella Vander, Christian Vander / Offering, Bernard Paganotti, Didier Lockwood

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Seven That Spells - Black Om Rising – Seven That Spells is based in Zagreb, Croatia churning out some of the best mind numbing kaleidoscopic space music this side of the cosmos. Black Om Rising is their fifth release since 2003. Each CD...  (2009) » Read more

Trio Fattoruso - Trio Fattoruso – It makes perfect sense that Uruguay would not be just another blip on the radar of finesse jazz and rock players. Brothers Jorge and Hugo Fattoruso have been playing various Latin and jazz styles for...  (2006) » Read more

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Happiness Heartaches – The latter incarnation of Oblivion Express (led by Hammond B3 player extraordinaire Brian Auger) was characterized by soulful blues-rock, percussion, and danceable grooves. Ex-Return to Forever...  (2003) » Read more

Dou Wei & Buyiyang - Zaochun de Yusan (Early Spring Umbrella) & Ru Qiu (Entering Autumn) – Chinese multi-instrumentalist / singer / composer Dou Wei first came to public notice as a member of Heibao (Black Panther), one of the country’s earliest prominent rock bands, back in the early...  (2011) » Read more

Sons of Selina - Terminus – This EP is a bit of enigmatic release, coming with no band or lineup information at all. The disc contains three songs, totaling 23 minutes. The music on the first two tracks features a driving,...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues