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Adventurous and imaginative

Posten on: 2007-12-02 14:37:00

Magma is a French progressive rock band founded in Paris in 1969 by classically-trained drummer Christian Vander, who claimed as his inspiration a "vision of humanity's spiritual and ecological future" that profoundly disturbed him. In the course of their first album, the band tells the story of a group of people fleeing a doomed Earth to settle on the planet Koba´a. Later, conflict arises when the Koba´ans Ś descendants of the original colonists Ś encounter other Earth refugees. A remarkable aspect of Magma's albums is that Vander actually invented a constructed language, Koba´an, in which most lyrics are sung. Later albums told different stories set in more ancient times; however the Koba´an language remained an integral part of the music.Considered by many to be musically adventurous and imaginative, Magma makes extensive use of the choral format, their album Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h being particularly reminiscent of the classical composer Carl Orff, while ?urdah ¤tah reveals connections to BÚla Bartˇk's piano music and "Les Noces" by the Russian master Igor Stravinsky. Work by Magma is also highly influenced by jazz saxophone player John Coltrane.So many musicians played with Magma over the years, who then went on to form their own solo projects and/or spinoff acts, that the Kobaian term Zeuhl came to refer to the style of these bands and the French jazz fusion/symphonic rock scene that grew around them. Beyond Christian Vander, the drummer/composer, the most well-known of the old Magma lineup was probably Jannick Top, the bassist/co-composer.While Magma's recordings remain relatively hard to find, Christian Vander and Jannick Top together keep Magma's back catalog in print on CD.

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