Magma — Magma
(Philips 6395 001/002, 1970, 2LP)
by Rob Walker, Published 1995-11-01
Magma's earliest incarnation found its musical roots in the experimental electric jazz scene of the late 60s. Their debut double album, featuring a lineup of keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums, augmented by a trio of horn players, straddles the fuzzy line between progressive jazz-tinged rock and the exploratory jazz of the day. While it is at times reminiscent of Soft Machine or early Chicago, and at other times suggestive of Sun Ra or McCoy Tyner, this recording stakes out some relatively unique musical ground, which on ensuing albums will be expoited to incredible ends. Though Christian Vander's compositional peak was still several years away, both his skill and direction are quite evident here. The jazz element of the music manifests itself less through overt improvisation, despite the jazz background of the band, and more through the increased harmonic vocabulary and timbral variety Vander draws upon in his pieces. Hints of the voice-as-instrument concept, which grew to such prominence in later works, can be found here, along with the first examples of Klaus Blasquiz's manic high-pitched screaming fits. One of Vander's real strengths as a composer is his ability to poignantly portray the emotional contours of the lyrics or the story with his music. On Magma he effectively captures the different experiences of Kobaïa's founders, mingling ominous and aggressive pieces with more hopeful and ethereal atmospheres. The structural elements Vander uses to convey these emotions, combined with the indecipherable Kobaian lyrics, give the music of Magma the characteristic other-worldly feel which came to define the zeuhl sound.
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more