Exposé Online banner

Magma — Retrospektïw I & II
(Seventh Records REX XVI-XVII, 1981/1994, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1994-10-01:

Retrospektïw I & II Cover art

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the formation of Magma, without a doubt one of the most innovative and progressive bands of all time. Their music combined very intense and spiritual elements of jazz and classical with the power of rock. They are absolutely unique among bands, having created their own spiritual/sci-fi concept based on an enlightened future race who start a new civilization on the planet Kobaia, having witnessed the decay of humanity on Earth. They sing most of their material in the language of the new planet, a linguistically correct creation of the band members, and specifically drummer Christian Vander, called Kobaian. Although there was a high turnover rate within band's lineup during the 70s, the revolving roster included many of the best and most innovative musicians of the day, and as such they managed to produce a number of classics. On three nights in June 1980 at the Olympia in Paris, past and present members of the band reunited for a series of 'retrospective' concerts, covering their classic material. Two albums resulted from these shows — first was a single LP (Retrospektiw III, reissued on CD in 1992) . Second — and the subject of this reissue — was a double album covering two of their album length pieces: "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh" from the 1973 album of the same title, and "Theusz Hamtaahk", which at that point had been played regularly in concerts, but had never appeared on record in its entirety. Both are stunning pieces, opuses of a grand scale involving operatic chanting (up to six vocalists in all), backed by an expanded instrumental lineup of dual keyboards, dual guitars and violin, solidly anchored by the throbbing bass of Bernard Paganotti and Vander's intense yet highly controlled drumming. The version of MDK here is certainly one of the most powerful I've ever heard, far superior to the original studio version. In short, this long-awaited reissue is a must have for all fans of the band, and a sure bet for newcomers as well.


by Rob Walker, 1995-11-01:

The second album culled from the 1980 reunion concerts is a double, and features breathtaking performances of two of Magma's epic live pieces. The first official release of "Theusz Hamtaahk" is a welcome inclusion. This version begins slow and deliberate, gradually picking up momentum through the repetitive instrumental middle section. Agitated vocal and synthesizer melodies build to several peaks during the finale before bringing the piece to a resolute ending. The rendition of "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" captured here is perhaps the most powerful one ever released. The use of synthesizer on this version is unique and extremely alluring. Bernard Paganotti's bass solo towards the end of the piece is short and rather avant-garde, quite different from the type he used to play in the mid 70s. It leads into a spectacular long violin solo from Lockwood that is perhaps one of his finest moments with Magma.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 8 , 1994 releases, 1981 releases

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

More info

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Area - La Mela di Odessa – First off: to the best of my knowledge, this is a bootleg recording, of dubious legal origin, and the sound quality is marginal at best. If that scares you away, no need to read on further. Area...  (2000) » Read more

Landberk - One Man Tell's Another – From the opening moments of this CD, it is obvious that this Swedish band has greatly matured. The follow-up to 1992's well received but unspectacular debut Lonely Land, One Man Tell's Another...  (1994) » Read more

Soft Machine Legacy - Live in Zaandaam – Moving forward from the Softworks lineup that included Allan Holdsworth, 2005 brought the opportunity to that icon with guitarist John Etheridge for a newer, more vital incarnation with distinct links...  (2006) » Read more

Jumbo - Jumbo, DNA, 1983 & Live – The list above is the entire discography of Jumbo except for two rare singles, one from 1970 and one from 1975, and Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni? which is covered elsewhere. At the beginning, Jumbo...  (1996) » Read more

Patrick Gauthier - Le Morse – Patrick Gauthier's third solo offering reveals, past the "soul" opening piece, a rich blend of keyboards and vocals, hovering mostly in between mysterious and clear atmospheres, with a...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues