Exposé Online banner

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

by Rob Walker, 1995-11-01:

Retrospektïw I & II Cover art

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.


by Peter Thelen, 1994-10-01:

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.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 5 , 1994 releases, 1981 releases

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

More info

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Tear Garden - The Secret Experiment – The Legendary Pink Dots and Skinny Puppy have been recording music on and off as The Tear Garden since 1986. The Secret Experiment is their eighth release, arriving five years after their previous Eye...  (2008) » Read more

Klaus Schulze - Kontinuum – With great anticipation I waited for the release of Klaus Schulze’s 45th solo album Kontinuum and I was not disappointed. Klaus has been reissuing lots of music lately, but it is two years since his...  (2008) » Read more

Caryn Lin - Honour the Rain – Caryn Lin is a violin player who plays on one track of the Project Lo disc. Here, on her solo album, we find overdubs of echoed pizzicato and such over which a rather spatial violin flies....  (1996) » Read more

Germán Bringas - El Salto – Bringas is a Mexican multi-instrumentalist operating along the experimental / jazz / new world music axis. El Salto is the latest of several albums, and is a solo project in the truest sense, as...  (1997) » Read more

Via Lumini - What Have We Done About Us? – For their long-anticipated second album, the band took what may appear to some as a step backward, not forward, with the addition of Hammond B3 organ to the keyboard arsenal (and it gets a lot of...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues