French Music Legends Magma To Release Final Installment Of Epic Trilogy

(Glass Onyon) One of music's most innovative and eclectic ensembles, Magma, will be releasing the final installment to their most recent epic trilogy. Titled mhnthtt-R, Magma's new opus will be released internationally on November 5, 2009 on Seventh Records. This marks the second trilogy by the legendary French band, the first being Theusz Hamtaahk. Magma was founded in Paris in 1969 by drummer Christian Vander, who derived his inspiration from a "vision of humanity's spiritual and ecological future" that profoundly disturbed him. Vander was a self-taught musician, who received some tips from drum legend Elvin Jones. In the course of Magma's first album, the band tells the story of a group of people fleeing a doomed Earth to settle on the planet Kobaa. Later, conflict arises when the Kobaans, who are descendants of the original colonists, encounter other Earth refugees. A distinguished aspect of Magma's music is that Vander actually invented a constucted language, Kobaan, in which most lyrics are sung. Later albums told different stories set in more ancient times; however the Kobaan language remained an integral part of the music

"In its message, as in its genesis and its making, mhnthtt-R is an intimate epic, an occult stride forward, a quest for the sublime. Initiated in 1975, its composition beholds its whole fulfillment after more than three decades. It is the testimony of an unwaveringly timeless inspiration, of which the expectant present asserts itself beyond history. Connecting wide and contrasted scenes, it sets its coherence within its very dynamics, playing with chiaroscuro, between choral splendor, operatic jubilation and hurricane of spirits beyond graves.

As much a seraphic liturgy as it is a telluric opera, mhnthtt-R comes as the final closure to a second trilogy, following upon that of Theusz Hamtaahk, in Christian Vanders corpus. This is a music reaching out from a time before man time. Born at the heart of nebulas, fed on mineral glow, and riding crypts capped with a cosmic vault." Bruno Heuz

When asked if the name Magma is part of Kobaian or does it refer to lava? Christian Vander replied, "Yes, it refers directly to lava. Back in 1966, I had written a piece and I was already in a band with Bernard Paganotti, who became a bass player. Already, I was searching for the right word. The tune I wrote back then was called Nogma. I was looking for the word Magma, but didn't know it was what I was looking for. One day the band didn't have a name at the time, and they were standing in fornt of a fairly well-known club in Paris. The club management told me if you don't have a name, you can't come and play tonight. So we went for coffee, at the shop next door. I thought deeply, you know, and the word Magma came out. At the same time, I founded Univeria Zekt. I wrote this down on the receipt from the coffee shop and kept it."

When asked where the music of Magma is derived, Christian explained to George Allen and Robert Pearson that "the music and the lyrics come up at the same time. If I am singing, and if it has to be in Kobaian, they come up in Kobaian. Sometimes there is a word that is maybe French or English and I leave it in because it is there, and it's natural. The lyrics come at the same time, parallel to the music. For pieces like Mekanik, they were not written in one shot or one session. I had to run a tape recorder to be able to capture it instantly- it goes very fast. I sing with new words that I don't know, and when I am improvising further, the same words come back, even though I don't know them. But I didn't learn them, they impose themselves on me."

Considered by many to be musically pioneering and imaginative, Magma makes extensive use of the choral format, their album Mekank Destruktw Kommandh being particularly reminiscent of the classical composer Carl Orf, while ?urdah tah reveals connections to Bla Bartk's piano music and "Les Noces" by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. Reportedly, Christian Vander is also highly influenced by the work of jazz legend John Coltrane. "I am always listening and attentive to what they do," says Vander. "I am open to listen to what they do. But for my work, it is still Coltrane who actually gives me the real material to work on, to be able to move on."

Magma's new CD also comes with a 57-minute DVD, "Phases", as a testimonial to the intensity of the ensemble's work during its recording.

Stella Vander vocals, percussions
Isabelle Feuillebois vocals
Herv Aknin vocals
Benot Alziary vibraphone
James Mac Gaw guitare
Bruno Ruder Fender Rhodes
Philippe Bussonnet bass, piccolo bass
Christian Vander drums, vocals , piano, Fender Rhodes, keybords, percussions
also featuring : Emmanuel Borghi : piano - Himiko Paganotti, Antoine Paganotti , Claude Lamamy,
Marcus Linon, Pierre-Michel Sivadier : backing vocals

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