Ork Alarm! # 6

July 1991

CONTENTS

  • Magma / Offering March – April 1991 Tour
  • Tour Advert 1978
  • Ork! Update

CHRISTIAN VANDER TRIO

25-05-91 Le Guingois, Montluçon
14-06-91 Marseille
15-06-91 Marseille
05-07-91 M.J.C. Picaud, Cannes
06-07-91 L’Excalibur, Pernes Les Fontaines (near Avignon)
07-07-91 Fort du Bruissin, Francheville-le-Haut (near Lyon)

See the next issue of Ork Alarm! for full details of the second half of this tour. Reviews required for the first half please.

After that, Christian is too busy in the studio to perform again until October, when OFFERING plan to tour France and Germany. This is currently envisaged as a minimum of 15 dates in France, which Philippe Dardelle tells me should include Nice, Lyon and Marseilles. I guess Emmanuel Borghi must have thought I sounded Dutch, because he said he was sorry to say there would be no gigs in Holland this year.


MAGMA / OFFERING

MARCH-APRIL 1991 TOUR

As most of you missed the Spring tour completely, here is a blow by blow account of what happened and where. As for the music, well doubtless it will become available on future SEVENTH Records releases in due course.

DAY: THURSDAY
DATE: 28/03/91

As luck would have it, I arrived in Paris a day early for the Epinay Sur Seine concert and soon discovered a little Jazz cafe called the DUC DES LOMBARDS in a side street near metro Chatelet. This looked like a promising place to while away an evening, so armed with my copy of Parisco I set off on the ReR train bound for Gentilly where I eventually managed to locate a reasonable hotel. This was Maundy Thursday, and most of the hotels I contacted had been fully booked for that weekend.

LINE-UP: TRIO
TOWN: CHATELET, PARIS
VENUE: DUC DES LOMBARDS

I arrived at the charming little jazz cafe at about l8h00, just alongside the bar was a cheesy little “custom built” valve amp and the horribly tacky remnants of a severely worn black drum kit. On the right of the platform was a grand piano. Having confirmed that a table reservation was not required, I decided to come back at 21h30 for the concert. Eventually le patron sat me right alongside the drums. The band had been hanging around for an hour or so, before the drummer decided that the kit provided was not up to scratch. He then replaced it with his regular red Gretsch equipment.

Then at 23h20 the band played an excellent hour-long set, including several classic pieces. They returned after an hours break for a second set of familiar material which lasted for about forty minutes. Afterwards I met the drummer and pianist and thanked them for an astounding performance, but then the Trio Vander always were an excellent jazz band.

DAY: FRIDAY
DATE 29/3/91
LINE-UP: MAGMA
TOWN: ORGEMONT THÉÂTRE M.J.C.

Most of the day was spent trekking across Paris and out to Epinay-sur-Seine. Just opposite the Railway station, I saw signposts indicating the route march to the Maison Jeunesse Catholic in the Orgemont quarter of Epinay. I guess this would have been about the same time that Jim was wandering around the other side of Epinay looking for Cyborg’s “shop”, sorry Jim! A mile or so down the road I was beginning to wonder if someone had twisted the signpost back at the ReR station when I came to a small Tabac with a MAGMA poster.

After a short rest, I forced my wheezing bulk along to the M.J.C, which was indeed a regular YMCA type of hall, but it had a pretty good pair of murals painted on the front wall. I had decided it would be wise to make this afternoon trip since none of the usual ticket offices in Paris had been selling places and I thought this would be a popular gig, being so close to Paris.

Jim had by now discovered that Seventh Records does not actually have a shop called CYBORG, more like a warehouse on an industrial estate. When he arrived he met Georges Besnier who was putting the final polishing touches on a few amplifiers ready for THE BIG GIG. Georges pointed Jim in the right direction for the Orgemont district, then much to Jim’s amazement offered him a lift to the gig itself. Meanwhile, since I had been unable to book a room in the Hotel Ibis, which is near the ReR station, I had carted myself along to the “nearby” Hotel Climat in Villeneuve-La-Garenne. This was a mile or three from the venue which would not have been too bad except by that time I had formulated the crazy idea that it might be possible to tear across Paris after the MAGMA show to see the TRIO VANDER again at 23h25.

Stage one of THE MASTER PLAN was to take a taxi to the M.J.C. and book it for the return journey, I was confident that the band would finish at 22h30 and figured that the cab driver could just get me to a convenient metro station in time for me to reach the Jazz cafe by 23h15. The Voice of my Conscience was telling me that this was hare-brained, but what the heck, this tour would cost me a lot of dosh anyway… The taxi driver was reluctant but eventually decided to take this mad Rosbjf and I slid out into the masses thronging the M.J.C.

Well, not quite, the masses had not arrived and it was a bit early wasn’t it? Still, the foyer was open so I hung around greeting the regulars who popped up at all the 1990 shows with their knapsacks (full of Garlic and Camembert, I guess). Eventually the hall filled up and the intro tapes began, the show was about to begin. Something about the new intro tapes reminded me of Teddy Lasry’s style and the 1001 Degrees album, a very promising start I thought.

ZUKUNFT:
Georges Besnier jumped up to the microphone to announce that the first part of the concert was to be by two Zeuhl groups: ZUKUNFT and DON’T DIE, who would play “morceau de MAGMA”, I guess I’d been hoping for something like ZAO or WEIDORJE, but after the first few notes of ‘Zombies’ I knew this was not going to be quite as impressive. ZUKUNFT made a fine job of several instrumentals, but I thought they meandered a bit too much during ‘KMX’. It was as if they had each practised individually in their own bedrooms and had not rehearsed that piece as a group. So far I was enjoying the music but many of the people in the audience could not contain their hysterics. The cause of all the merriment was the visual aspect of the band.   After a very quick changeover DON’T DIE took up their places and tore straight into ‘Tröller Tanz’, the audience broke into gales of laughter and a few catcalls. It was nothing like as bad as the reception that IQ received in 1990 at La Cigale when they supported MAGMA. These “enfants du Magma” were not being ridiculed; most people seemed to admire their efforts. However, both groups had a common deficiency, they were almost entirely composed of good young musicians who wanted to look and act like their Idol, Christian Vander. ‘Retrovision’ was the funniest part of the show, when the Vocalist, Bassist and Guitarist were all bobbing and weaving, with typically Vanderienne grimaces and rolling eyeballs. Musically however, I feel it should be said that they all did an admirable job of covering some complicated material. It also crossed my mind that it is unlikely that Christian and Stella will perform these pieces again so this could grow to be an acceptable replacement. It would have been better if either of the bands had attempted their own compositions.

The OFFERING and MAGMA sections of the show that followed were excellent, but I’ve been rabbiting on too much already so I’ll let Jim tell you about them…

M.J.C., ORGEMONT, EPINAY-SUR-SEINE 29/3/91
Jim Ross 7/91

The evening’s entertainment started with sets from two new bands: Zukunft and Don’t Die, both of which were labelled “Les Enfants De Magma” (New Kids On The Kobaïan Block?). “Les Enfants…” meaning that they were young Magma fans who performed songs from the mid to late seventies Magma repertoire and not, as I was most unreliably informed by one of my travelling companions, offspring of the various Magma musos through the ages.

Zukunft commenced their short but nonetheless very enjoyable set with ‘Zombies’ from ‘Üdü Wüdü’, this was followed by ‘Liriïk Necronomicus Kanht’ from ‘Attahk’ and they finished off with ‘KMX’ from ‘Inedits’ and ‘Utopia’ from Jannick Top’s Utopia Viva single.

DON’T DIE, whose line-up included two very capable vocalists, performed excellent versions of ‘Tröller Tanz’ from ‘Üdü Wüdü’, ‘The Last Seven Minutes’ from ‘Attahk’ and ‘Retrovision’ from ‘Retrospective Volume 3′. They left the stage to enthusiastic applause, although no encore was forthcoming.

Both bands played their chosen pieces of music very well, sticking close to the originals, the one and only criticism I have of the performances is the way they mimicked the stage mannerisms of Magma. During ‘Retrovision’ the interplay between the two vocalists was rather like watching the Bobino ’81 video being re-enacted on stage and at one point the drummers facial contortions became quite intriguing.

By way of a complete contrast to the boisterous Zukunft and Don’t Die, Offering proceeded to play three very warm sensuous jazz pieces, ‘Hello’, ‘Colors of the Rainbow’ and ‘Anahë’, with Stella Vander’s vocals adding an almost erotic quality to the music, however the last number of the set, ‘Purificatem’, had Christian Vander demonstrating his considerable lung capacity to great effect, thus snapping the audience out of their reverie created by the previous three songs. Although I have never been as big a fan of Offering as I have of Magma, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole set.

Magma finally took the stage to perform an impressive ‘Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh’ with help from various musicians from both Zukunft and Don’t Die, Klaus Blasquiz wasn’t on hand to lend his vocal talents to this performance, but his place was more than adequately filled by the vocalist from Don’t Die. Sadly Magma weren’t able to play an encore as Christian Vander had a prior engagement with the Trio Vander elsewhere in Paris. I wasn’t able to get to the Reims gig the following evening where Magma played a stunning version of ‘Lïhns’ as an encore, but I have it on good authority that a great time was had by all.

DAY: FRIDAY
DATE: 29/3/91
LINE-UP: TRIO
TOWN: PARIS (CHATELET)
VENUE: AU DUC DES LOMBARDS

Stella came back onstage at the end of the M.J.C. show to announce that the band could not come back for an encore because they had already left for the TRIO VANDER gig in Chatelet. Bidding fond farewells to Valerie I hurried to my waiting taxi, very briefly greeting Jim, Nolan and Maria as I rushed up the aisle. THE MASTER PLAN was soon behind schedule when I could not locate my taxi amongst all the cars pulling up outside the hall. Eventually though we were on our way down towards Porte Maillot, but I had the misfortune to pick a local taxi driver, local to Epinay that is. As you can imagine, once past Villeneuve-La-Garenne he had to get his map out and study it!

“We’re doomed, Mr Mainwaring, Doomed!” sprang to mind, but I cannot really blame the poor guy, I had to admit it was a madcap scheme. Eventually I got to the door of DUC DES LOMBARDS as the TRIO were starting their second piece, ‘My Favorite Things’, but all the doors were bolted, the little cafe was full. It was 23h30 or thereabouts and okay so I’m a raving lunatic for even trying to do it, but I already knew I’d seen the best gig of the tour and I would always have regretted it, if I had not made the attempt to see the TRIO again.

DAY: SATURDAY
DATE<;> 30/03/91
LINE UP: MAGMA
TOWN: REIMS
VENUE: THÉÂTRE GRAND

Early advertising for the DUC DES LOMBARDS gigs had announced that they would be there for three nights; I presumed therefore that the third night had been cancelled when the concert in Reims was confirmed. Before the first set on the Thursday evening, I spoke to Philippe Dardelle and Emmanuel Borghi and they had confirmed that the tour dates were as we had heard from Georges Besnier. Philippe also tipped me off that the first MAGMA gig would be in Orgemont.

Saturday morning was spent browsing in the Flea market at Porte Clignacourt but I only had time to pick up a few scratchy things that day, the real gems would come much later in the tour. If you are in Paris and want to find some obscure records at decent prices then this is the place to go. It is Europe’s biggest open-air market, mostly bric-a-brac (or old tosh depending on your viewpoint) but there are about ten very good record stalls / shops. You probably won’t find the MAGMA singles there, but I have discovered singles by ART ZOYD and JANNICK TOP at very reasonable prices. Right, that’s Bernard’s plug over with, on with the road stories.

The afternoon train to Reims had a fair number of people in black and red shirts with knapsacks full of Camembert, strange how everyone was engrossed in their walkmans… Nolan and Maria had got the coach to Reims after pitching a tent in Epinay the night before. Malcolm, Jackie and the “Hill trio” had caught an earlier train and been sampling the Champagne (or maybe not) in town for a few hours before I arrived. I did not get much time to see Reims itself, just a Restaurant and an old record shop or two.

The theatre itself was quite impressive, much more elegant than the other venues of the past year. The show followed the same pattern as the previous night, with ZUKUNFT opening and DON’T DIE finishing off the “new musicians” part of the billing. On reflection I think that this time ZUKUNFT were the better of the two bands, the audience had another chuckle. There was an element of the audience, who were not amused however, and at one point it broke into heckling and someone screamed that 150FF was a bit steep for “les amateurs”.

Next on the bill were the new eight-piece OFFERING with a very different set to last years shows. The new songs were played in the same order as they had been premiered in Orgemont. ‘Hello’ was another good performance by Christian on piano, Stella on lead vocals with Pierre-Michel Sivadier adding atmospheric keyboard backing. Again I was most impressed by Stella’s performance on ‘Colors of the Rainbow’, which would seem to be an ideal selection for her forthcoming solo album (now being recorded at last). ‘Anahë’ was a bit more hesitant this time. Christian’s tour de force came with ‘Magnifi / Purificatem’ a possible future replacement for ‘Another Day’ perhaps? This new epic is currently about thirty minutes long, but does not have a Vander drum solo just yet.

After a short interval, MAGMA (with members of DON’T DIE) rather hesitantly began the ‘Triomphe d’Aphrodite’ introduction to ‘Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh’. Some people had expected Klaus Blasquiz to come onstage at this point, but the lead-vocals were covered by Jean-Christophe Gamet (from DON’T DIE). During the announcement section some of the audience became a trifle disgruntled, but I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show. Klaus is not (and has not been for over a decade) part of MAGMA and so it would not be fair to keep comparing other vocalist’s abilities with the original magnificent versions from 1973. Having said that, this version of ‘Mekanïk’ was not as impressive as the one they played in Lille last year. The guitar mid-section seemed a little out of place now, whereas last November it was a real scorcher, literally knocking us off our seats.

At Orgemont it was great to see Christian back on the drum riser for much of the show, personally I prefer that to his, admittedly wild, vocals. Tonight, however there seemed to be a touch less effort on his part, still a damn fine show though.

At Orgemont, the show had to end here, because of the TRIO gig, but at Reims we were treated to a few encores. The best of which was ‘Lïhns’. Stella had come back to say that she had not sung the next number for fifteen years, then she led DON’T DIE (with the percussionists from OFFERING) in a stirring version of this 1975 classic which just got better and better as Stella grew more confident in herself and the band. By the end of the piece she was urging them on to greater heights and Christian had joined them at the back of the stage on some percussive item. This was a terrific finale to a show that was slightly flawed but still worth the trip.

I later discovered that some of the hesitancy noticed in this concert might have been due to the use of a click track (used to ensure synchronicity at the start of some pieces). We also suspected that poor on-stage monitoring might have caused part of ZUKUNFT seeming amateurishness. The general consensus of opinion after the show was that, overall it would have been even better without the support groups. However, someone suggested that it would be unfair to judge either band on only a few appearances so early in their career. Let’s hope “Les Enfants” write some new songs before they get written off themselves. The pieces they played were not massively popular when they were first done in the 70′s.

DAY: SATURDAY
DATE: 6/04/91
LINE-UP: OFFERING
TOWN: SOISSONS
VENUE: THÉÂTRE CENTRE CULTUREL

Joïa, Magma ni Wurdah, Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanïk ïss de hündïn. Zebëhn Straïn dë Geustaah dondaï, Wï Wï do Wëhrï ïss ïï, Soissons c’est Magnifique! (Enough! – Ed.)

On arrival in Soissons I went straight to the M.J.C. where I had been told the gig would be. This was just behind the church at the end of the main high street. On the way there I saw a plethora of posters advertising the concert, which was actually in the much grander Centre Culturel adjacent to the M.J.C. complex. I was pleased to notice that again it was an all-seated venue, noting that half the seats had been sold in advance for this one. I returned to the Hotel Le Lion Rouge (in the town centre) for knirpps & moisture.

Later that afternoon I strolled into Gosse Music, a typically French music shop, and as I walked through the door I heard all hell break loose on a drum kit from within. Alas this was not another pre-concert matinee show, merely some of OFFERING trying out the instruments on sale. All this did not particularly amuse the shop manager and after about thirty minutes of Emmanuel Borghi’s piano experimentations, he had the cheek to interrupt them. I tried to linger in the vicinity for as long as possible to soak in the music, browsing through a weird collection of late 70′s albums (it seemed as if the record distributors had stopped supplying the store in 1979). I did not manage to find any Magma rarities here, but picked up a couple of mint LPs by Atoll & Catharsis instead.

Soissons itself is not a remarkable town (more like a huge war memorial), so after sampling a few bars and boulangeries (I’m a muffin man myself) I waddled back to the Hotel to watch ‘Multi-Bingo’ on TF1. The alarm bells started ringing at 19h30 and I rushed off to the M.J.C. complex for the concert. As I passed the church I spotted a 72-seater coach parked outside the theatre and presumed that a big party from Paris had hired it. I was ushered to my seat (at Reims they even had an Ice Cream vendor, but I digress), which was very luxurious.

Overall I thought the Soissons concert was an improvement on the shows in Orgemont and Reims, mainly because it was intense and respectfully received by the audience. ‘Cosmos’ had a slow start again as if OFFERING were still using a click track but then they stormed into a superb rendition of ‘A Fiïèh’, swiftly following that with ‘Colors of the Rainbow’. This has a strong Coltrane feeling and seemed a mite shorter this time. The next fifteen minutes of ‘Anahë’ started off well but this piece seems to wander around without reaching a satisfactory climax. It was however enhanced by an extended drum solo from Christian Vander.

Unlike Strasbourg the previous September, there was no advance publicity literature to be found in Soissons and I had wondered whether this tour would see the return of ‘Zëss’ or ‘les Cygnes et Corbeaux’ to their set as I had heard that ‘Another Day’ was going to be dropped. Anyway, the next song was ‘Hello’ which I had first seen performed at a very windy Mimi festival last July. This piece was excellent as usual and ended with an marvellous primal scream from Isabelle Feuillebois.

The last of the new songs was Christian’s vocal extravaganza ‘Magnifi / Purificatem’, still without a drum solo from the master, but this one has all the hallmarks of a future epic along the same lines as the oldie that followed it. Christian bobbed and weaved away with some well-rehearsed routines and Stella took up the percussion leaving nearly all the vocals to Christian.

Jean-Claude Buire had been absent from the first two concerts, but now returned to the drum riser for … ‘Another Day’, making OFFERING a nine piece group again. I have seen some tour publicity, which refers to the band as a ten piece jazz ensemble, but I could not figure out who the tenth member was. Once again this live performance was much more energetic than the disappointing version Christian finally chose to release on the ‘OFFERING III et IV’ album. Whatever happened to the double live LP called ‘Another Day’ that the band were supposed to be recording at the Bloomsbury theatre a few years ago? I am still puzzled by the feeling that they have played this so many times since 1983 yet the official recording is a bit lacklustre. Perhaps Christian should try Frank Zappa’s method of releasing virtual live albums with solos edited in from different shows as appropriate, but then it is Monsieur Vander’s album after all.

The fans “got in the groove” again, but in a way it seemed that Christian and Stella were not totally enraptured leaving the “Ooh Ooh Baby” section towards the end for Pierre-Michel Sivadier.

The audience refused to budge and kept calling them back (‘Ehn Deïss’ was requested but Christian chose too close the show on a more optimistic note with ‘Joïa’). Somewhere in there Pierre Marcault indulged himself again. It seemed to be the first encounter with OFFERING for a large part of the audience and as I left the hall I noticed that some of them were stunned motionless, much like my reaction when I first saw MAGMA way back in 1973. On reflection, perhaps not the greatest of shows, but more satisfying than the mishmash of ZUKUNFT and DON’T DIE. I still think they would get a bigger audience if they billed themselves as MAGMA and included ‘Theusz Hamtaahk’ in their set, but so it goes.

DAY: SATURDAY
DATE: 13/4/91
LINE-UP: OFFERING
TOWN: VIROFLAY
VENUE: THÉÂTRE SALLE ANDRE DUNOYER DE SEGONZAC

One week later and we’re back in Paris (or nearly). The ReR link from Roissy was closed down so I had a bit of a detour before I got to the Hotel des Batignolles, which was as usual, the other side of Paris to where I wanted to be. This time I was convinced that there was a possible sell-out so I went to the venue a day early and reserved a ticket. It is only about thirty minutes on the ReR from Invalides to Viroflay Rive Gauche, but another reason for this journey was to find out the return train times and plan my route since the metro closes down a bit earlier at this time of year. Viroflay turned out to be a nice little suburb with a frequent train service, but the last train back to Paris was at 23h57. So far on the tour the concerts had been finished by about half past eleven so I thought I’d be able to get that one without problems.

I got to the hail very early on the night of the gig, in time for most of the sound-check. The music press had been invited to this concert and the first seven rows were reserved for them, since I’d made the effort to reserve a ticket I was lucky enough to get a seat amongst them. Unfortunately these feeble notes do not count as “music press” so my efforts to get a publicity kit were refused but the bands new promoter was quite pleasant about it and Georges Besnier, Philippe & Emmanuel shook my hand. They had all been quite affable throughout the tour, so maybe the next attempt would be more successful. I had met Valerie again before the Soissons gig and hoped she could make this trip too but I missed her in the crowd. Eric, who I had met in central Paris a week or two before had flown in for this gig too, still suffering from ringing ears from the flight. The sound-check concentrated on ‘Magnifi’ then eventually we were let in to the hall and Georges started the intro tapes almost immediately.

This was a strange kind of hall, the day before it had looked like an aerobics class, but tonight it was full of metal chairs. Eric proceeded to regale me with tales of the merits of English rock stars throughout the intros then OFFERING (the eight piece ensemble) started their set as usual with ‘Cosmos’ while the rock press were still shuffling around looking for their seats. Tonight the hail was pretty full and I hope they gave the show a good review as the band really put a lot of effort into this one. Anyway, this is what Eric thought of it:

Viroflay 13/4/91
Eric F.

‘Cosmos / A Fiïèh’ introduced the new smaller group to a full crowd, I wished they could extend the first part of this though. The next four songs were all new ones that I had never seen before ‘Colors of the Rainbow’ was a nice jazzy start to the show, but the lyrics seem a little “hippy” to me, what is all that “Red and Yellow and Orange too”? Perhaps it will all make sense when combined with the rest of Stella’s solo album…. My guess is that ‘Colors of the Rainbow’ will be the title track. (Editors note – Flower Power Sucks! but this is not hippy shit, it is much more like a John Coltrane melody, personally I would prefer them to sing only in Kobaïan though).

Stella then produced another masterpiece (‘Anahë’ – ed.), which circled around reminding me of something that Guy Khalifa used to sing in 1987. There seemed to be some disagreement over which song to play next until in the end Christian sat at the grand piano in the centre with his back to us and played a soft piano tune. Stella then joined in singing ‘Hello’ and finally the other keyboard players started to add very gentle colouring, a strange tune, quite haunting.

Again the Vander’s went offstage to discuss something, then having made up their minds Christian returned to the microphone. He started what I thought was a new introduction to something else and at one point he sang in Kobaïan about “Ek Glao” (the blood? – ed.). Stella had by then started playing the tambourine at the back of the stage and she let Christian sing a long number called (I think) ‘Magnifi’ / ‘Purificatem’. The final song was my favourite ‘Another Day’ almost fifty-five minutes of real pleasure.

Encores:
Pierre Marcault returned after a very long pause and greeted a wild crowd with the start of ‘Les Rhythmes Du Diable’, which quickly turned into ‘Joïa’ when the rest of the group joined him. God knows what the press thought of it all. The audience broke into thunderous use of the furniture as percussion instruments until the promoter came back onstage to tell us the band would come back for one more, if we behaved. ‘You Gotta Have Freedom’ was our reward, even though a lot of us were chanting “Mekanïk” gleefully. This spectacle was simply excellent. After the show I broke the Ork Alarm! record for the quarter mile dash to the station for the last train which I caught with one minute to spare. Sunday was spent in the Flea market again and this time I found some pretty rare items, several of which were promos given to the “music press” and they included Stephane Ollivier’s (editor of TRANSE, the original MAGMA fanzine) album called ‘NAKARA’ and Pierre Marcault’s LP ‘BIDON K’.

DAY: FRIDAY
DATE: 19/4/91
LINE-UP: OFFERING
TOWN: BEAUVAIS
THÉÂTRE: CINEMA LES VARIETES

This was the one I thought I would miss but in the end I managed to sort out something and got the SNCF train out of Paris at around 14h00 on the day of the gig. As soon as the legions of Magma fans got off the train, the heavens opened and we struggled through a hailstorm towards our hotels. It soon dawned on me that I had screwed up the hotel arrangements yet again and booked myself into a hotel half a mile outside town. So I went straight to the Cinema on rue Carnot to dry off and check out the ticket situation. Once in the cinema I made a few friends, including the theatre manager and they suggested I change my hotel booking. But figuring it was not the British way, I foolishly decided to honour my booking and they got me a taxi to the Hotel Mercure. On the way I noticed that the local advertising was for one Christian Wander!

I was soaked through and spent the afternoon watching a daft film on the TV with a soundtrack by Claude Engel. The film was called “Rendezvous au tas de Sable” and was a comedy about a struggling group of French musicians in search of a musical identity, at one point the singer suggests he should sing things like “Ïma surai dondaï”. The soundtrack is hopeless though. Around 19h00 I returned to the cinema in case there was a chance to watch the sound-check, but instead I had a coffee with the manager before they let us into the main hall. Emmanuel Borghi seemed his usual cheerful self when I met him just before the show.

This time ‘Cosmos’ started with no sign of the click track and then Christian came onstage sporting his new haircut for ‘A Fiïèh’. The applause was quite muted and after each song there was some hesitation as if they were deciding what to play next. ‘Colors of the Rainbow’ followed (without a drummer). Then Stella looked distinctly puzzled and sang the first two notes of ‘Anahë’ before realising that Christian was moving to the piano stool for Hello instead.

After another pause they played ‘Another Day’ this really did surprise me. It was another brilliant performance from Christian but perhaps the rest of the band were a little disorientated. At Soissons and Viroflay, Jean-Claude Buire had played the drums on this song, but here Marc Delouya took his place. (Marc was also the drummer at Epinay and Reims except for during ‘Mekanïk’ of course when that had been Vander’s role). Halfway through the song, my attention began to wander and I wondered when Christian would play the drums in this reshuffled set. Then I started thinking that the best performance Christian had given in the last month was at the TRIO VANDER concert in Chatelet, and I remembered an interview he gave in 1987 where he stated that he was going to confine his drumming to the TRIO and concentrate on the vocals for OFFERING. Stella concluded another epic in a very professional way.

‘Anahë’ was dropped from the show and the band returned to play ‘Purificatem’ for an encore, this time it was extended by a long solo from Pierre Marcault. This final piece had progressed quite well throughout the tour and I would expect it to be a good centrepiece for the next one. As they left the stage for a final time, the audience were shouting for Christian to play the drums… After the show I was invited by the cinema manager to join Christian and the band (for a pizza in the foyer) but just as I accepted this remarkably kind offer, my taxi arrived! I had been waiting about thirty minutes for one to show up so I sadly had to decline their offer.

To sum up then, a wonderful way to spend April and some very promising new material was premiered which should hopefully get even better in the future. I just hope the next tour comes soon.

Avec la divine participation du:
CHRISTIAN VANDER (Batterie / Chant / Piano)
STELLA VANDER (Chant)
ISABELLE FEUILLEBOIS (Chant)
EMMANUEL BORGHI (Piano)
PHILIPPE DARDELLE (Contrebasse)
PIERRE-MICHEL SIVADIER (Synthétiseur)
PIERRE MARCAULT (Percussions)
MARC DELOUYA (Choeurs, Percussions)


Ork! Update

SOME NEWS ON UZMK MUSICIANS

(‘tour’ refers to March / April 1991 Tour)
KLAUS BLASQUIZ
Has published a book ‘The history of the Fender bass’ which is available in the UK from Chappell music. He was not part of the recent tour, because the 1990 series of concerts was a special reformation, not a permanent one unfortunately.

EMMANUEL BORGHI
Played at all shows – exquisite piano.

JEAN-CLAUDE BUIRE
All shows – drums on ‘Another Day’ only, except not present in Reims.

FRANCOIS CAHEN
Not on this tour, but he has formed a new trio with Ty Bourn and Claire Gillett, I hope they tour soon, because their first gig together at a tiny jazz bar called the Dame Bleue in Ris-Orangis was (as Freddy T. would say) a cracker!

PHILIPPE DARDELLE
All shows – Subtle Contrabasse.

MARC DELOUYA
All shows – drummer on most songs, leader of the Magma cover band Zukunft and drummer on ‘Another Day’ in Reims.

DANIEL DENIS
Not on this tour, but he has a new CD due soon on the Musea label which will be called ‘Sirius and the ghosts’, it’s his first solo effort since UNIVERS ZERO, whose classic ‘Heresie’ is due on CD soon.

ADDIE DEAT
Performed at all the Magma shows, member of DON’T DIE.

ISABELLE FEUILLEBOIS
All shows, exceptional vocalist.

PATRICK GAUTHIER
Due to record an album for Seventh Records eventually, he may also feature on Stella’s solo disc.

SIMON GOUBERT
Has a new CD called Haïti (Seventh A VII). It is a very straight Jazz Album on which Simon plays the drums, whereas he used to play Piano in Offering. He was not on this tour.

JEAN-MICHEL KAJDAN
New CD called ‘Blue Scales’ – quite jazzy, of course, but with some excellent backing musicians.

GUY KHALIFA
Due to record an album for 7th records (one day).

PIERRE MARCAULT
All shows, rejoined again presumably after his brief contretemps with Christian at Elancourt in 1990. In April ’81 he recorded an album as part of a percussion trio called BIDON K.

OFFERING
The group are currently in their studio every day, working on the new album, to be called ‘A Fiïèh’.

PIERRE-MICHEL SIVADIER
All shows, I think….

CHRISTIAN VANDER
All shows, except he did not drum at Beauvais!

JULIE VANDER
Was only on stage at the Magma shows.

STELLA VANDER
All shows (well what else would you expect?) Stella has almost finished recording her solo album. Also, we hear that Daevid Allen’s Gongmaison may use the studio underneath Stella’s house for their next album.

DON’T DIE

DON’T DIE might be as follows: (apologies for the incorrect spelling!)

MARC DURER – BASS
ADDlE DEAT – LEAD VOCALS
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE GAMET – LEAD VOCALS
PHILIPPE BIRET – SAX
FRANCK VIDEL – GUITAR
JEAN-FRANCOIS SIVADIER – KEYBOARDS
DANIEL VANDER – DRUMS

PIECES PLAYED

ZOMBIES
LIRÏK NECRONOMICUS KANHT
KMX
UTOPIA
ZUKUNFT

ZUKUNFT are as follows:

MARC DELOUYA – DRUMS
PHILIPPE BUSSONNET – BASS
SERGE FIORIN – SYNTH/BASS
REMY DESTHIEUX – ORGAN
JAMES McGAW – GUITAR
VINCENT DUPUY – PIANO

PIECES PLAYED

TROLLER TANZ
LAST SEVEN MINUTES
RETROVISION
ART ZOYD

ART ZOYD have two previously unreleased tracks (‘Mariée à la nuit – Japanese version’ and ‘Caryocinèse’) included on a 70 minute compilation CD (ECD 1021) on the German Ear-Rational label. Apart from Art Zoyd, the album includes other new cuts, which contain some extremely powerful Avant-Rock by J.A. Deane and J. Greinke. Highly recommended.

PAZAPA

PAZAPA, the band formed by Alain & Yvon Guillard (both ex-Delta, Weidorje, Magma) have a variable first album (Cerise JCC 014 CD). Some of the first half of the album is funky and frankly very bland, then there are some ultra-smooth ballads which bored me to tears… This was especially disappointing since the guest list includes Stella Vander, Klaus Blasquiz and Francis Moze. But ‘Pazapa’ picks up with some reasonable electric fusion on the fifth track, entitled ‘Fiction’ which features special guest Bernard Paganotti on bass and Lydia Domancich (who is the third member of Pazapa, the group) on synth programming. From the eighth cut, ‘Fanfare’ the disc comes alive. ‘Fanfare’ starts with a disco-vamp and twee-trumpet from Yvon Guillard, but gradually Pip Pyle’s drumming and Paganotti’s bass lift this out of the mire. When Red Mitchell’s guitar and Alain’s Sax let rip, it sounds a lot like an instrumental by PAGA GROUP. Lydia plays some sensitive piano accompanied by the brothers G on electric winds for a beautiful composition by Ms D. entitled ‘Santaï’, which I wish could be extended to album length. But then sleazy funk sounds of the horns herald ‘Big Gang’ and the tranquil air is temporarily replaced with brash commercialism, eventually the tune resolves and the remainder of the album is palatable if not earth shattering. It’s certainly an odd album; in part it’s a real stinker! Then in places it shines with some fine melodies and excellent musicianship from Lydia, her sister Sophia, Bernard and Pip. Mr Paganotti likes the album because of it’s varied sound, personally I wish they’d cut the funk and ballads and concentrate on the fusion.


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