Ork Alarm! # 8

December 1991

CONTENTS

  • Magma Advert
  • Why This Man? (Steve Ashworth)
  • The Steve Davis?(Andy Garibaldi 11-91 – Photos: John Costello)
  • Ork! Update

CORRECTIONS

In Ork Alarm! #6 several song titles were misnamed. Now that they have been officially released, we can identify them as follows:
‘PURPLE ROSE’ is actually called ‘COLORS OF THE RAINBOW’.
‘LA NUIT’ is actually called ‘HELLO’.
‘MALATOU’ is actually called ‘ANAHË’.


Concert News

OFFERING TOUR NEWS

The Autumn ’91 Tour was as follows:
TUE 15-10-91 LE TRANSBORDEUR, LYON
FRI 18-10-91 CAFE THÉÂTRE PORTE D’ITALIE, TOULON
SAT 19-10-91 CEDAC DE CIMIEZ, NICE
MON 11-11-91 BORDEAUX
WED 20-11-91 CENTRE CULTUREL DE L’AEROSPATIALE,TOULOUSE
FRI 22-11-91 MJC, JOUE LES TOURS (LOIRE)
SAT 23-11-91 SALLE DIFFART, PARTHENAY (DEUX SEVRES)
FRI 06-12-91 ESPACE CARPEAUX, COURBEVOIE (a suburb of Paris)
SAT 07-12-91 CENTRE MUSICAL LES ARCADES, FACHES THUMESNIL LILLE)
SUN 29-12-91 PASSAGE NORD-OUEST, PARIS (new venue)
MON 30-12-91 PASSAGE NORD-OUEST, PARIS

OFFERING GIGS

FRI 14-02-92 EVRY

There were more concerts planned but currently unconfirmed:

VICHY
BEDARTEUX
SAINT DIZIER
PERIGUEUX

Alex Ferrand rejoined OFFERING late in the tour and Christian took over Emmanuel Borghi’s role on piano after several members left the band – See Ork! Update.
Stella’s wonderful solo album ‘D’EPREUVES DAMOUR’ was released in time to coincide with the tour. The first half of the show was basically promoting that work – reviews of concerts and the album in the next issue.
The second half of the shows included an excellent version of ‘LES CYGNES ET LES CORBEAUX’ and the long improvisational piece ‘PURIFICATEM’.


MAGMA

Guardian 21-1-89

On a return visit promoted by Snooker Supremo Steve Davis, drummer Christian Vander’s pan-European dinosaurs deal in an implausible, invariably portentous, but occasionally inspired blend of theatrical jazz-rock. Bloomsbury Théâtre 15 Gordon Street


WHY THIS MAN?

“ON ENTERING THE TOMB OF EMËHNTËHT-RÊ”

Steve Ashworth

It was 1975. FOCUS and TANGERINE DREAM were beginning to lack their lustre and the music press were featuring items about other European bands like FAUST, CAN, HENRY COW, GONG and some group called MAGMA who all looked interesting. A new avenue of musical discovery beckoned a gang of beery Northern Teenagers. On one of many visits to the legendary Tony’s market stall in Manchester, a single; ‘MEKANÏK MACHINE / EXTRACTS FROM KÖHNTARKÖSZ’ caught my eye – worth a shot for 25p. Let’s have a butchers at this here MAGMA. On playing the said single, it touched me like no other music ever had. Several paper rounds later, the LP’s had hit the stereo and the gang were equally as enthralled. This boy more than the rest.

My memory can’t recall the chronology of what was bought in what order, but I do remember the long hot summer of ’76 being accompanied by ‘LIVE’ and that (still) spine chilling organ solo on side two of ‘KÖHNTARKÖSZ’, and the winter being soothed by the first Double LP set. This music with its enthralling drummer, magical vocals and astounding bass work was bordering on the obsessional to me. The strange but totally appropriate language meant little, but communicated perfectly. When would I get to see this live?

‘ATTAHK’ and ‘ÜDÜ WÜDÜ’ and ‘INEDITS’ nourished over the next few years. Whilst the other interests of HENRY COW and the Canterbury crew went their separate ways, M. Vander kept at it and still delivered the goods. (Who’s the guy who frequently mentioned “conceptual continuity” Paul? FZ – Ed.) One of the gang happened to be in France in 1980 and got the Holy Grail – Andy saw MAGMA live!!! The report back was most enthusiastic. I got to the South of France in summer ’81 and saw a MAGMA poster on a wall. “This is it – at last” – only to find the concert was in Monaco two weeks earlier. “Oh No!” Anyhow, I arrived home with the three ‘RETROSPECTIVE’ volumes and was introduced to the mighty ‘THEUSZ HAMTAAHK’. This may be considered heresy, but ‘MEKANÏK’ never really hit the spot like the other long pieces, and in ‘THEUSZ HAMTAAHK’ I found the ultimate in MAGMA. The driving mid-section with all its complexities left me as breathless as when I first encountered ‘MEKANÏK MACHINE’.

Then ‘MERCI’. On the first few listening’s, ‘THE NIGHT WE DIED’ seemed to be an apt one liner to convey my opinion, but ‘OFFERING PARTS 1 & 2′ made me realise what Christian was going for – and on CD too! In 1987 an advert appeared in the Record Collector wants section asking for MAGMA live tapes. I offered my meagre collection and got a reply from Steve Davis, which was quite a surprise. He put me onto the nations MAGMA Authority, Duncan Lane, who was soon to inform me that S.D. was promoting three MAGMA concerts in the U.K. Saturday 16-1-88 was the day I’d waited for, for so long.

Experiencing MAGMA in the flesh at last, I expected more than I could reasonably hope from them and got more. I’ve never seen a better performance by anyone; anywhere and the uninitiated who travelled with us to see this (after years of me boring the arses off them about this brilliant French group) were equally as amazed. Needless to say, I went to all three London concerts in 1989, spending the days selling off my psychedelic rarities in London collectors shops to finance the purchase of the now available back catalogue of MAGMA on CD.

I could present a reasonable musicological argument as to why the music of MAGMA is held in such high esteem by this writer. I still can’t explain why it moves me on a deeper level – touching the parts other sounds can’t reach. Christian Vander should be regarded as a true Genius. It is criminal that those with influence on what the average punter gets to hear treat his music with such apathy. All being well, I’ll be in Faches Thumesnil on 7-12-91 for another fix of the supreme sustenance, MAGMA LIVE! and I intend to keep up the habit until Christian Vander stops the supply.

MAGMA ISS DE HÜNDÏN – STEVE ASHWORTH 14-10-91


NOT THE STEVE DAVIS?

Andy Garibaldi (11-1991)


Let me first fill you in on the background. I set up Lotus Records Mail Order in 1980/81 with the intention of retailing Euro-rock, Synth music & associated “genres” throughout the U.K. and Europe. At that time, Punk was still happening, New Waves of all sorts were happening, but none devoted to anything remotely musical. Into Jazz-rock, Prog rock, Euro-rock, Synth music, etc?? Then forget the shops, forget the media, quite simply, Lotus was the only source for this music.

Within three years, we had built up a mailing list of over 1000 people, single handedly brought several bands much greater recognition and sales (BERNARD SZAJNER, HELDON, ELOY, to name a few), were the leading synth music distributor in Europe and had carved a reputation for my own speciality at the time – MAGMA!

Move on a few years and we were distributing anything that moved with a MAGMA or ex-MAGMA musician in it, from the sublime to the ridiculous. So, imagine my suprise when one day I get a call from Duncan Lane, an old friend (of sorts) from the early-mid 80′s when we used to distribute the music of METABOLIST, the closest any U.K. band ever came to the colossal musical power of MAGMA. He rabbited away about wanting information (I forget what exactly after all these years) because a guy called Steve Davis was putting on some MAGMA concerts in London. I gave him what help I could and he explained about how Steve Davis had contacted the band and they didn’t know who on earth he was, or what snooker was. It was only at this point that I clicked and thought “you mean THE Steve Davis don’t you”. But didn’t say anything to Duncan on the grounds that I’d just spent the last fifteen minutes on the phone letting him think I knew what he was talking about. As soon as the call finished, I seemed to remember that we’d had some orders for MAGMA product from a Steve Davis and, sure enough, it was him and he’d been sending us cheques for MAGMA product. LOTUS Records – suppliers to the rich and famous!!

Two days later I got a call from Steve, himself, the first of a couple or three calls and, although I forget what it was all about, it ended up with LOTUS being allowed to give out mail order leaflets at the MAGMA concerts. I remember asking for an actual stall selling all things MAGMA, but that was vetoed by the band and, I think, the hall…C’est La Vie.

So, there I was with MAGMA (OFFERING) coming to the U.K. for three concerts, promoted by Steve Davis and actually getting publicity. A huge spread in, I think, The Daily Telegraph was enough, and an interview with Steve Davis on the saturday afternoon on Radio One was great. But, as it turned out, the clincher was a five minute feature on BBC TV at Breakfast Time.

Carole Righton’s feature was broadcast on the Friday morning after the first concert. Due to work commitments, I couldn’t make the first night, but got to the second and third nights. On the Friday, I got down to the theatre and, once there, found Mr Davis and he was in a great mood, as happy as someone who’s found a long-lost relative!! He told me how well Thursday’s show had gone. That the number of people in the audience was respectable, but how he didn’t expect huge numbers of people to turn up anyway. I also heard the stories of the fact that two grand pianos had been vetoed before a third grand piano was voted acceptable; of how, on one of the three days, the band couldn’t rehearse in the afternoon due to a prior but forgotten booking already made by the hall.

On Friday night, with quite a sizeable audience in attendance, OFFERING (MAGMA) came on stage to a rapturous applause and proceeded to play what, for me, having heard tapes of the first night and been present at the other two, was the best of the three concerts. Not having seen OFFERING live, before now, what struck me was just how powerful the band was onstage. I must admit I expected an acoustic MAGMA to be something of a boring affair, but the keyboard, piano and percussion plus electric and acoustic bassists, proved to be both wild and gentle. But it was Stella Vander who stole the show proving that, without her, OFFERING would be nowhere near as good as they are. The audience reaction was tremendous and everyone enjoyed such a unique experience.

On the Saturday night, after TV, Radio and Press coverage, the concert had actually sold-out by the early evening and a full house gave Vander & Co an ecstatic reception, even though many of them had never heard OFFERING’s music before. Again, another stunningly powerful set!

After that, everyone went away happy; Mr Davis had seen MAGMA and not lost as much money as he might have thought; MAGMA found out that a British audience (ready and willing to accept their music) still existed and we did a lot of business promoting MAGMA. Sadly, Charly Records, who had released a couple of MAGMA CD’s showed absolutely no interest in promoting the band or capitalising on the recent concerts. In fact, when a Charly rep sold a MAGMA CD into us he hadn’t been given anything to promote the band to the dealers. What with the failure of anyone to distribute OFFERING’s CD in the U.K. (and promote it), although Impetus distribution did their best, the MAGMA resurgence, in terms of sales, ran aground almost as soon as it had set sail.

A year later, Steve Davis repeated the process and put on more MAGMA concerts in London. It had originally been planned to take the band out of London, particularly to Manchester and, possibly Birmingham, but all this fell through.

This time around, the concerts were all well attended but, in my opinion, for whatever reason, the group didn’t have the same spark as the year before. They played some good music but it wasn’t the fantastic mind-blowing music we had witnessed a year earlier. Many thought that the Jazz element was too overpowering and that the MAGMA element was being pushed into the background. But you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds and it is better to have a 90% par MAGMA in the U.K. rather than no MAGMA at all.

From then on, Lotus subsided and MAGMA (and Mr Davis) disappeared from the U.K. concert scene. Now in 1991, Lotus is back; perhaps someone, somewhere in the U.K. will realise MAGMA’s potential and promote a concert or two. We can but hope!!


Ork Update

SOME NEWS ON UZMK MUSICIANS

CHRISTIAN VANDER

CHRISTIAN VANDER has recently bought a manor house close to Chalon-sur-Marne from where he intends to live and continue working on new material. Work is still progressing in the Uniwerïa Zekt studios underneath Stella’s house on the next OFFERING album, which will hopefully include ‘Zëss’ as well as ‘Cosmos’ and ‘A Fiïèh’. It has not been decided if the album title will be ‘A FIÏÈH’ after all.

EMMANUEL BORGHI – PIERRE MARCAULT – JEAN-CLAUDE BUIRE

EMMANUEL BORGHI, PIERRE MARCAULT & JEAN-CLAUDE BUIRE have all recently left OFFERING, for reasons currently unknown. This has of course caused some disruption for the band while they find replacements, particularly for the piano parts. Emmanuel, left sometime between the 11th and 20th of November, perhaps they should re-enlist Michel Graillier?

JOËL DUGRENOT

Last summer, Mantra released JOËL DUGRENOT’s (ex-ZAO) classic album ‘BOOMERANG’ and a newer work called ‘MOSAIQUES’ on CD. The ‘BOOMERANG’ album is wonderful, truly Wotre Music, but the second CD, which features David Cross from KING CRIMSON is a bit of a hotchpotch of leftover items. The Artwork on both albums matches that used when the musicians that now form MOSAIQUES were in ARMANDE ALTAÏ’s backing group. Lovers of MAGMA & KC should investigate these albums (which could have been squeezed onto one CD).

KLAUS BLASQUIZ

KLAUS BLASQUIZ is planning to write a second book on the bass guitar; this time it will be a tutor, for an American publisher. He will also be making a guest appearance on LE GRAND BLUES BAND’s next album. The major news on KLÖTZ however is that he is currently working on his second solo album titled ‘TRADITIONNEL – FUTURISTE’ – The first solo album (circa 1980) was never released – only demo tapes were made, so perhaps Klaus would care to include that on the CD. Klaus & Bernard are still working together in PAGA GROUP.

XAAL

XAAL had a concert in Paris at the end of December and there is more news on them in the current issues of Mr. PEACH & VARIA magazines (and in the Dutch magazine SI too – Cyrille has been busy again). Their CD will be called ‘EN CHEMIN’ and will hopefully soon be available on a U.K. label.

ANAÏD

AYAA have at last released ANAÏD’s album ‘FOUR YEARS’ on CD, it is a remixed, re-recorded, re-release of their K7 and vinyl work from 1986 to 1990. In case you don’t already know, their music is a cross between The CANTERBURY style of music and OFFERING.


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