Magma — Théâtre du Taur - Concert 1975 - Toulouse
(Seventh Records AKT IV, 1975/1996, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, 1994-10-01:
The long awaited fourth release on Christian Vander's AKT label is a legendary concert from September 24th, 1975 in Toulouse. The lineup here includes Christian and Stella Vander on drums and vocals respectively (of course), Klaus Blasquiz (voc), Benoit Widemann and Patrick Gauthier (keys), Bernard Paganotti (bass), Gabriel Federow (guitar) and Didier Lockwood (violin) — which places the recording somewhere between the Live album and Udu Wudu. The first disc opens with a haunting and powerful rendition of "Köhntarkösz" — unique in its guitar prominence, followed by an equally riveting eleven minute version of "Hhaï" and perhaps the best live version of "Kobaïa" I've heard, featuring outstanding performance by Lockwood. Disc two is a single complete 38 minute rendition of "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh," full of the same fire that made the Live album so special. For the uninitiated, a more descriptive account of Magma's sound can be found in the review of Retrospektiw I-II in the reissues section of this issue. The Live sound quality is quite decent, especially considering this was never originally intended for release. There are occasional split-second drops in level (especially on "Köhntarkösz"), but nothing that should bother any true fan, for whom this outstanding 2CD set is a definite must-have.
by Mike McLatchey, 2018-02-15:
By the early 90s, Seventh Records had showed up, started reissuing the original Magma albums along with some offshoots, and began to open Magma's considerable live vaults. The Théâtre du Taur show appears to be out of print now but it was one a lot of Magmaphiles celebrated in 1996, despite its somewhat B-grade sound quality (that is you could hear it all no problem, but it was a bit faded and didn't have much in the way of presence). But it was from 1975 and thus a close cousin to the Hhaï / Live album, which meant that you were going to hear "Köhntakösz," "Hhaï," "Kobaïa," and "Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh." And while they deliver great versions of all this material — nothing unusual for 1975 — the "MDK" is something uniquely special on his album. It hits the pavement on all cylinders and drives forward with ferocity and completely takes to the air by the time it gets to the jamming with Didier Lockwood, who delivers a solo for the ages. It's so kinetic that you feel like everybody's instruments have caught fire. As great as the band could be through their whole career, I think it would be hard to argue that this still wasn't their best, most fluid line up, and they had gotten to a point where it seemed like playing these compositions was utterly effortless. Maybe the best "MDK" of all time, although perhaps not the clearest.
by Rob Walker, 1995-11-01:
Recorded in Toulouse roughly three months after the concerts from which Live were taken, this two CD set was released for the first time in 1994 on Christian Vander's AKT label. The band is identical to the lineup on Live except for the replacement of keyboardist Jean Pierre Asseline with Patrick Gauthier. This concert features fantastic performances of "Köhntarkösz," "Hhaï," "Kobaïa," and "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh," with slightly different arrangements from the Live album. "Kobaïa" is extended to nearly twice its earlier length to make room for a Gabriel Federow guitar solo. "Hhaï" is also extended a few minutes, and "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" is presented in its entirety, not abridged as on Live. A bright soundboard recording, the sound quality is excellent, and does justice to these wonderful performances.
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
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more