Unique Veteran French Prog-Rock Ensemble Magma Return to US for Brief Tour

Posted by Billyjam, March 30, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

One of French rock music's most innovative and eclectic musical ensembles, the eight member group Magma whose style is their own unique brand of progressive-rock, will be making a brief North American tour over the next two weeks with only eight select dates scheduled (including two in California dates: LA's Echoplex on Monday, April 6th and Slim's in SF on Wednesday, April 8th). Their upcoming tour that kicks off at Venue in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, April 2nd.

The longtime group, who were founded by main member Christian Vander four and a half decades ago upon inspiration from a "vision of humanity’s spiritual and ecological future," stand apart from every other band (not just in France but everywhere) due to their unique musical sound and the fact that they crafted their very own language.

WFMU radio's DJ Trouble, who plays a lot of French musical acts on her weekly show, has been a big fan of Magma's for many years and will be attending their upcoming tour's closing date at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on April 13th. I asked the DJ what exactly it is that she likes so much about Magma? "They're a wild French band that includes a former Yé-yé girl," she said, adding "And they've made up an extra terrestrial language and "origin" story. Oh and they make crazy prog-ish sounds! What's not to love?" Another major fan of the band is Amoeba owner Marc Weinstein whom I asked what it is that has long attracted him to Magma. "They are unlike anything else. They created their own universe and you literally have to enter their universe to appreciate their music," said Weinstein, noting how Magma founder Christian Vander's intense interest in music by Stravinsky and Coltrane helped shape the band's eclectic, adventurous progressive sound.

The extraterrestrial, self-invented language of Magma is called Kobaïan and through it the band weave ancient and apocalyptic tales as evident on such albums as their 1970 self titled album and 1977's Ineditsor on recent era releases such as 2011's Uber Kommandoh or their very latest album Slag Tanz, which was released by Jazz Village in January this year.

"Magma's music integrates elements of spacerock, jazz, progressive rock and orchestral music in a new genre called Zeuhl.  The music is conceptually unified by Vander’s science fiction mythology. All Magma songs are sung from the point of view of the Kobaïan people, who will, according to the stories elaborated on Magma records, emigrate from Earth to another planet and return years later. For this reason, all Magma songs are in Kobaïan," accurately noted Magma's biographer Oliver Hall. For the LP and CD releases from the Magma back catalog available from Amoeba click here.


MAGMA La L?gende du Siecle (1973)

Magma live at Théâtre de l'Empire à Paris (1978)

Magma "Slag Tanz Extrait" (2015)

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Marc Weinstein (16), Dj Trouble (3), Wfmu (34), French Rock (1), Prog Rock (6), Magma (3), Kobaian (1)