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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Crises - Broken Glass – OK, another CD from Angular, yet another German Dream Theater clone. I thought the Germans liked Saga but I guess that was the good old days. Broken Glass covers all the requisite bases: James La Brie...  (1999) » Read more

Venegoni & Co. - Rumore Rosso – Although this band was led by a guitarist, Luigi Venegoni of Arti & Mestieri, it is far from a guitarist showoff exercise, but a very balanced group effort. Keyboards, handled by Ludovico Einaudi...  (2007) » Read more

Finisterre - Finisterre – Finisterre is another debut from the country with more bands than fans. While many of Italy's newer outfits fall squarely in mediocrity, Finisterre looks like one of the brighter spots. The band...  (1995) » Read more

Art Zoyd - Faust – It's been too long since I've heard anything by Art Zoyd. They have continued down their unique path begun on L'Enfer, taking them in recent years to the macabre soundtracks of German...  (1997) » Read more

Bittertown - Scenes from the Box – Dutch bassist Tom Janssen is the driving force behind this album, though his debut solo outing, Are You Surprised, dates back to 2004. For this concept album he’s enlisted aid from drummer...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues