Ork Alarm! # 20

April 1994

CONTENTS

  • Christian Vander Trio Metz 30-10-93 (Rolf Spengler) (photos: Kristina Pohl)
  • Alain Eckert and Serge Bringolf
  • Vortex (Jean-Marc Bailleux, Philippe Lacoche & Michel Lousquet)
  • Malakoff 12-03-94 (Ehn Aïmaah)
  • Klaus Blasquiz Artist / Author / Curator… (Thierry Moreau)
  • A Musical Journey into Space (Philippe Paringaux)
  • Didier Lockwood Surya
  • J-P Goude Drones
  • J-P Goude De Anima (Peter Thelen)
  • Astralasia Unverïa Zekt
  • Jean Pascal Boffo Nomades
  • Bataclan 24-05-73 (Christian Lebrun)
  • Ork! Update

Christian Vander Trio

Caveau des Trinitaires, Metz 30-10-93

Impressions: Rolf Spengler – photos: Krishna Pohl

At the end of October the Trio Vander played the east of France with two gigs at the Strasbourgian Café des Anges on the 27th and 28th, followed by one in Metz on the 30th. Circumstances, unfortunately only allowed me to go to the concert in Metz. Once there, “Les Trinitaires” was easily found, in something like an old romantic cloister at 10-12 rue des Trinitaires, just a few corners around the back of the cathedral. I soon learnt how important it is to make a ticket reservation, which I hadn’t done this time. Subsequently I had to wait for nearly two hours in a long gallery at the front entrance of the “cave”, until all the reserved seats had been taken. It was announced that the concert was nearly sold out, but nine or ten seats were left. I was ninth in the queue, so I was not very worried, but everyone who arrived was asked if they had made a reservation. Even Emmanuel Borghi was asked when the Vander Three turned up, he spontaneously replied that he had reserved the seat behind the piano.

At 9 o’clock we entered the underworld of Metz, where the “Caveau des Trinitaires” turned out to be an old barrel-vault, which would later on deliver a very fine and well-balanced sound, despite its small size. All the seats were occupied except for some chairs in the aisle. I got one in the last row, just behind a platform with the seats on. When the first of two sets, each lasting sixty minutes, began at 9:30, I had to forget about watching the drummer, because the seats on the stand in front of me obstructed my view. Emmanuel Borghi had his back to me and the visual limitation of just Philippe Dardelle’s finger-work on the upright bass induced me to concentrate on what reached my ears. Don’t expect a complete set-list, but the concert began with the piece they generally start with, which I believe is ‘The Night Has A Thousand Eyes’. This was followed by the complete stuff from the new release ’65!’ and some older pieces like a stunning version of ‘Dear Mac’ and the as yet unrecorded ‘Body and Soul’.

It is very important to realize the remarkable growth the Trio had made during the last year. Emmanuel Borghi has become an excellent pianist since he joined the U.Z. in 1987. But now he is also playing as a superb complement to Christian Vander’s drum works, with blind comprehension between both of them, to the level Michel Graillier delivered in the early ’80s with ALIEN, in spite of the many differences in their style of playing. Likewise Philippe Dardelle did quite well, giving the rhythmical frame to both the others, maybe comparable in function to what Jimmy Garrison did for John Coltrane with his dry playing. And no doubt about Christian Vander’s techniques; as always at live shows, the energy expressed by his presence and his drum work was an impressive experience, but also he seemed to be much more florid than during the previous few months, apparently on the way to a new peak.

This impression of a really remarkable high standard of playing together that all three have reached at present was intensely underlined too at the Trio’s appearance at the Bataclan events recently. And not to forget the two melodies by Emmanuel Borghi, ‘Tensions’ and especially ‘Skunkadelic’s', which I heard for the first time live in Metz, and also the CD’s title track ’65!’, a composition by Christian Vander, to represent a composer’s potential, which suggests that they should change over to playing their own material in their future repertoire, more than the standards they have played for years now. So one could not wonder at the enthusiastic applause when the second set ended with the band’s introductions by C.V. Let’s hope that they will decide to preserve some of the intensity that they delivered playing live for us, on AKT in the near future.


Alain Eckert and Serge Bringolf

Zeuhl Musicians from the early 80′s

In 1981, parallel to his work with Art Zoyd; Alain Eckert formed his own group with Patricia Dallio, Alain Lecointe on bass and Serge Bringolf on drums. The result was a sound like a mini-orchestra, with vibraphone, violin and a separate wind section (trumpet, sax, trombone and flute). The violinist was Michael Nick and the sax player was Philippe Gisselmann who had both previously been Yochk’o Seffer’s sidemen. In fact, ‘Strave’ the first double album by Serge Bringolf, and the ‘Main Eckert Quartet’ album show similar influences in their tendency towards the fusion of jazz and Central European music, a fine example of which is the music of Yochk’o Seffer. Here, without the usual failings of jazz-rock, they show an intelligent style of playing which is a pleasure to listen to. The delicate, original and passionate style of Patricia Dallio was first found on the ‘Alain Eckert Quartet’ album which opens with ‘First’ which is similar to Art Zoyd’s writing at the turn of the decade. The remainder of side one teeters on the edge of jazz-guitar fusion, only just redeeming itself with the intricate backing. There are perpetual similarities to the vamps that Zappa used to back his solos, which fool you in that their initially overt simplicity conceals a wealth of fine detail. Alain Eckert uses this to good effect, except that generally his guitar sounds a lot more like Larry Coryell or Philippe Catherine than Uncle Frank. Particularly noteworthy are the second side of Eckert’s album with ‘La Danse des Abouts’ and ‘Duo’ and the fourth side of ‘Strave’, which exhibit a certain subtlety in their arrangements and the compositional and instrumental qualities. But is the Alain Eckert Quartet album as good as any Art Zoyd release? Sadly, no … it has all the indications of meticulous attention to detail, yet not enough vibrancy or power to stir the listener.

‘Strave’ is a more exciting album for the Zeuhl / Magma devotee. The first side is a long piece with luxuriant brass, mock-Kobaïan vocals and unusually for this genre, Milt Jackson-like vibes. For me it lacks a certain edge that electric guitar could have provided. The second and third sides are predominantly composed for bass (the lead instrument) and drums, with flourishes such as the violin solos. The brass section and the choir work in tandem, endlessly contributing wordless themes that are strongly reminiscent of Magma (71-80, it bugs me but I can’t pin-point exactly what they are quoting from) or Zao (their first two albums). Serge Bringolf’s second album ‘Vision’ represents a further step towards pure Zeuhl music with a nine piece formation performing what is commonly referred to as jazz-fusion, but with strong guitar riffs from Alain Eckert, thick brass and energetic vocals in the same scat-style that Vander has used extensively since the early eighties. Many “Magma School” collectors cherish this album. Bringolf’s next release was a collaboration with Siegfried Kessler (a long time associate of the Kobaïan fraternity). ‘Agboville’ is principally a piano / drums work-out with a few vocals which displays flashes of Vander’s opus ‘Wurdah Ïtah’, but (since Kessler is a more conventional jazz pianist than Vander) perhaps the feel is more accurately comparable to Faton Cahen’s first solo album; ‘Piano concerts’. ‘Agboville’ is also a succinct example of the Zeuhl sound that many other Magma inspired groups have produced, yet as with ‘Wurdah Ïtah’ the approach has been compressed to the bare essentials. Strave ‘Live’ is a reasonable endeavour, but not as successful as the studio albums. Alain Eckert plays on this one too, but perhaps the Funkiness of the first side detracts from the splendour that Strave produced in their earlier works.

Alain Eckert Quartet

LP      'Alain Eckert Quartet'   (L'Amanite AM 011) 1982

Serge Bringolf

2LP     'Strave'      (OM67016)              1980
LP      'Vision'      (OM 67028)             1981

LP      'Agboville'   (OM 67044)             1983 
LP      'Live'        (RBO R.1383 D)         1983

VORTEX

VORTEX were a Zeuhl octet from Lyon, there were at least two other groups by the same name, one was a late 80′s French thrash band and another was an industrial trio from New York led by Ralph Blauvelt. I vaguely recall a Dutch band too. Formed in 1975 by Jacques and Jean-Pierre Vivante, originally choosing the name URANTIA, the French Vortex were a formidable group cut off from all classification. Their first release in June 1975, ‘Vortex’ (JBP 463) was an excellent original progressive rock album (with Bartokian influences perhaps) The album is quite short, but contains some very interesting tracks, in particular ‘Haroun Thasckouack’ and ‘Délicieuse créature’ which have an addictive tendency. The line-up was a quintet with François Gerald (drums), Gerard Jolivet (sax) and Jeff Trouillet (flute and percussion). For the first two years, they produced a very complex and elaborate music, highly constructed where the arrangements held predominance. Meanwhile their stage performances were augmented by the presence of Yves Claire on flute and Yves Bourget on vocals.

In 1977 the formation was like two big bands; the main section with Jacques Guillot (saxes) and Gerard Jolivet (soprano sax, the rarely used bass sax and principally bass clarinet); then there was the percussion section – drummer Jean-Michel Belaich with Alain Chaleard and Maurice Sonjon who used a formidable array of xylophone, vibraphone, bells and other percussives; between the two, Jacques and Jean-Pierre Vivante held respectively bass and keyboard roles and were responsible for the musical conception and the orchestral direction. That summer Christian Boissel who doubled on oboe, English horn and electronic keyboards joined them.

Vortex’s second album, recorded and mixed in 77/78 was assuredly Zeuhl influenced, yet in concert they presented a pastiche of many styles. In May 1979 they toured France extensively (Lyon, Troyes, Auxerre, Dijon, Vaulx-en-Velin…) to promote their new album ‘Les Cycles de Thanatos’ (FLVM 3008). The music was no less original just because it revealed references to the whole contemporary repertoire, from Stravinsky’s ‘Symphonies for wind instruments’ and Debussy’s ‘The death of Saint-Sebastien’ to McLaughlin’s ‘My Goal’s Beyond’ via Ravel, Messaien (whom J.P. Vivante quotes awkwardly for 15 seconds out of the 25 minutes of ‘Cycles’), Varese, Robert Fripp (as in a few bars of ‘Prolégomènes’), Soft Machine, Caravan, even Zappa.

With the exception of ‘God is Good For You, John’, dedicated to John McLaughlin – a piece in the spirit of the first Mahavishnu Orchestra album (first side of ‘My Goal’s Beyond’), the album presented the serious aspect of Vortex (the others, on which their concerts placed greater accent, were the satirical side, the jazzy/funky facets, and the theatrical – even spectacular when the group were joined by actors and dancers on special occasions). Two fascinating pieces remain: ‘Prolégomènes’ and ‘Cycles de Thanatos’, which both show the exceptional qualities of composition and orchestration of the Vivante brothers. ‘Cycles’, as the title indicates, is a recurrent theme, structured in a spiral manner; the theme is exposed in the first bars by the woodwinds, varied and enriched, either as the orchestration fills out and emphasises each instrument in turn (the woods, the horns, the percussion, the keyboards…) or in the composition itself – harmony, rhythm, timbre. The piece develops in a slow, sombre and irresistible progression, it swells up to a paroxysm: ‘Thanatos’ – death.

Likewise for ‘Prolégomènes’ (first acquaintances in the scientific field) which also fits its title well, the composers progressively integrate their many “references”, in a luminous synthesis of ALL western music from the last fifty years: there are the higgledy-piggledy writing techniques ranging from Glenn Miller arrangements to the fury of Robert Fripp’s ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ or to Stravinsky. It is an accomplished art to develop this musically with a sense of structural unity which is absolutely foreign to the anecdotism of rock and which straightaway hauls up the Vivante brothers to the level of the best composers of their generation. ‘Prolégomènes’ and ‘Cycles de Thanatos’ are on a par with ‘Lizard’ or ‘Köhntarkösz’; they just needed more of the flamboyance (or the power) of ‘Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh’ for the music of Vortex to reach its zenith.

At the International festival of Lyon, for their two concerts on the 26th and 28th of June 1979 at the l’Odéon de Fourvière, Vortex had the splendid idea of inviting the musicians of Art Zoyd. Together they played ‘Les Cycles de Thanatos’ (with AZ’s string section) and Art Zoyd used the occasion to present (with members of Vortex), their ‘Musique pour l’Odyssée’.

On the 22nd of October 1979, they opened a festival of new music entitled “Ecoute” in Paris. They played a variety of instruments and produced a music that was rich in sound colours, but a little too linear and flat to retain the audience’s attention. UNIVERS ZERO, ART ZOYD and XALPH followed them that evening. Like Xalph, they had not found their own level at that time, the incongruity of their live presentation showed that whilst ‘Cycles’ exhibited a methodical construction on the same level as WEIDORJE and Art Zoyd, in concert they still had outrageous jazz-rock influences to shed, and needed to learn more about dynamics and to further strengthen the compositions.

By February 1980 the group were enriched by a guitarist, Bernard Monerri, and a second keyboard player, Michel Tardieu, who both came from that other classic Lyonnais group: TERPANDRE. The newcomers joined the brothers Vivante (still on bass and keyboards), with percussionists Vincent Daune and Bruno Heitz as well as Jacques Guillot and Gerard Jolivet (winds). In March that year they made a final tour of twenty concerts in the south and the east of France, climaxing on the 28th at the Bourse du Travail in Lyon. They then planned to stop and record their third album, which was to be called ‘Greatest Hits’, a title that showed they certainly had a sense of humour! After that they intended to tour central and west France. The grand scheme was to release the third album on their own. “Vortex Diffusion” label after that, and then tour Germany. Vincent Daune had also worked with Terpandre in the spring of 1978, temporarily replacing their drummer. Two years later he was able to help Terpandre get their album released on Vortex’s label.

The third album sadly was never released, but when these plans were revealed, the Vivante brothers spoke briefly about the changes in style envisaged for ‘Greatest Hits’. After the very recurrent and slightly static writing of ‘Cycles’, Vortex intended to place the accent on the rhythmic impact, perhaps to the detriment of the extreme subtlety of timbres, but with a more balanced feel than the first two releases. The strength of the guitar and the new drummer added new blood to Vivante’s music. In particular the mellotronist Michel Tardieu composed two superb tracks for the projected album. But 1980 was the time of New Wave and progressive music, particularly the inventive variety, was rapidly becoming unfashionable and hence unmarketable. Vortex was finally disbanded later that year. One can only hope that the tapes of the “third” album still lie in some vault in Lyon, waiting for people like Musea to blow the dust off them. ‘Les Cycles de Thanatos’ surely deserves a reissue, and perhaps the other albums could at least provide bonus material.

In May 1980 a new band emerged on the French rock scene, going by the name of THANATOS. I can only guess that there may have been some relationship to Vortex, possibly the last line-up without the Vivante brothers? I have not been able to trace any information about Thanatos (the group) except that they played gigs in St. Hilaire on 31-05-80 and Chateauroux on 07-01-81. In October 1986, ANAMORPHOSE the jazz fission group (with pronounced Zeuhl tendencies which they blended with Zappa influences) from Annecy, recorded a live album, side one of which exhibits many similarities to the music of Vortex.


Les Voix de Magma

Théâtre 71 – Malakoff 12-03-94

Ehn Aïmaah

After the sheer hell of the two support groups’ tedious drivel… Voila, Les Voix with an additional fifty vocalists and a real-life conductor, Didier Louis. An extract from Vander’s still unreleased triple album: ‘Ëmëhntëht-Rê’ gave us the clue that the set would not be massively different to prior shows, except that the Edgar Varese choir were ranked on tiers behind the customary formation of Les Voix (Goubert and Sivadier on Keyboards). But immediately after the ‘Ëmëhntëht-Rê’ incantation, the guests shuffled off-stage. The first major change from their orthodox set list was that Les Voix did not perform ‘To Love’, I missed that, but a far greater blow was to follow. The remainder of the set was just like any other Les Voix show, although the atmosphere had been dispatched for me by the support acts, such that I could never quite settle down and relish the gig properly. The choir were absent for the majority of the concert and only returned when the show had reached its traditional peak; ‘Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh’. Customarily, at this point Christian would lead his merry band to glory in this epic on drums. Tonight however, Christian left the stage. Why!? The inconceivable then unfolded, a performance of ‘Mekanïk’ totally devoid of percussion!

On reflection, it was a passable event, at least it did not turn out to be an embarrassment. I was disappointed that more use was not made of the choir, and that the choir themselves were not true professionals. Les Voix have frequently given better performances of all tonight’s pieces. The set was redeemed by the late inclusion of ‘Ehm Deïss’ after the legion refused to leave the auditorium. I got the impression that Les Voix were not planning to come back for an encore, because some of them had changed into their street clothes by this time. Dazed and confused, the crowd eventually spilled out into the boulevard at something like 1:30am. Yet there was still that overwhelming void caused by the lack of Christian’s presence for ‘M.D.K.’, an experience for sure… but should a similar performance be repeated? I hope not, experimentation is certainly Christian’s path for the nineties, but from time to time the results are merely interesting. Malakoff was O.K. Given adequate rehearsals a symphonic rendition of his compositions should be a treat, likewise a full blown electronic work, but a major piece like ‘M.D.K.’ should not be performed without Zebëhn Strain dë Geustaah.

“The performance by Les Voix at Malakoff was great, an amazing version of ‘Mekanïk’. Let’s hope Seventh Records will someday issue it. I noticed that the show was filmed…” Alain Lebon

“Wasn’t it horrible to hear ‘Mekanïk’ without any drums? Something like a chorale or Easter Mass. I’m still missing the brutal force of Jannick’s bass as a complement to CV’s drum work at Les Voix concerts, and now this. Unbelievable!”Rolf Spengler

“We only had two proper rehearsals with the Choeur Edgar Varese before they arrived at Malakoff, and these special events really need more time.”Voix Anonyme


Klaus Blasquiz: Artist / Author / Curator…

Thierry Moreau – in Malakoff 12-03-94

TM:     Please tell us about the new orientation of PAGA GROUP, the concept of ‘Gnosis’?

KB:     It’s not a concept. I have nothing against concepts when they are used in the way that MAGMA used them. But concepts like Rock Français¹ where the emphasis is not on music, nor musicality, have nothing to do with Paga. In Rock Français, their initial idea was literary. From the point of view of a new orientation, there are two major reasons for what has changed. Firstly; the change in personnel. We have a new drummer who has completely altered the colour…

¹ Rock Français: 80′s /90′s post-punk indie bands as opposed to French Progressif (typically 70′s /80′s).

TM:     In relation to Claude Salmieri?

KB:     Completely, it’s another universe. Still Paga, but it’s another Paga, just as there were different styles of Magma.

TM:     I find ‘Gnosis’ interesting in the sense of a return to your sources with a less haunted, less possessed “direction”

KB:     Perhaps. Personally I find this closer to an idea that I had for Paga, not just with François Laizeau, but also with Eric Séva on saxophone. Primarily, it’s a jazz-rock formation and yet the music is neither jazz, nor jazz-rock. I think that this is analogous to the same phenomenon that we saw with Magma in the beginning. I mean that it is not the group that is searching; it’s the fans who are searching to understand the group. When they have found the group, it will be easy for us, but musically, the group have already found themselves.

I believe that one should listen to the music and not allow oneself to get carried away. One should listen attentively, just as one listens to “classical music”. There are elements, which we have had for a very long while. This music was not arrived at by chance. It’s not a concept. It is very profound. You need to come to see us play. You need to listen to the music in depth. One must not allow oneself to listen superficially. In this sense, there has been a reversal. I am not saying that the music was superficial before, but that the group was in gestation. The group is a little more mature now, I think.

TM:     Some years ago, in Notes Magazine, you talked about making a solo album. Is this still in progress? Or is it an old dream? Or will it be released sooner or later?

KB:     It is just a matter of time. It’s not made yet. But it’s not a dream, because it would be easy enough to realise. But realising dreams for nothing, is like slashing a sword through water… I have made enough records to satisfy a good part of my ego. To have my name on the sleeve of a solo album, in itself does not interest me. My interest would be in working on my compositions, which have accumulated over the years. But, I do so many other things that I reckoned it was better to concentrate on what I am already doing.

TM:     Precisely, let’s talk about your other musical activities.

KB:     I made an album with another group, LE GRAND BLUES BAND. It is the same music that I was performing before I joined Magma, which I had not done for twenty-five years and which I still love, even though I do not commit 100% of my time to it. What I mean is, if I was not with PAGA, I could think of nothing I would rather perform. I found that this music from my roots is still interesting and I prefer that to being a backing singer, something I still do from time to time. The Blues is more my roots than French Variety or Rock Francais. Furthermore, I continue to write in many journals about the subjects which interest me; music, technology etc. Additionally, I’m involved in a small way with computers, C.A.D. (Computer Aided Design or Drawing), I also write books on the history of musical instruments.  Actually, I have a museum, which is starting to become quite substantial. It’s a museum that involves everything to do with electricity and music. It’s called MUSELEC. Currently, in an area of 130m2, I stock hundreds of products and documents. I’ve got musical instruments, Hi-Fi’s, stage amplifiers, tape recorders, mixing consoles… I catalogue them and later, when I have the means, I shall put the valuable ones in a site to be constructed in Alfortville within the framework of “La Cite du Spectacle”. For now though it is still in the planning stage.

TM:     Could you tell us about your graphic-art activities?

KB:     I have returned to things that I’ve done a few times in the past. Notably, the sleeve for a Magma album; which was never released. The theme is Ptäh, and Christian might use it. And then, I have done a lot of graphics research. Logos for societies, record sleeves for other people, symbols… but mainly logos and lettering. I work with a computer.

TM:     Do you use a Macintosh?

KB:     Yes.

TM:     What software do you use: Quark? Illustrator? Photoshop?

KB:     I use Illustrator, Photoshop and XPress. I scan images from items, which have been suggested, or things that I have drawn myself or else salvaged from other documents, and then work on each of the pixels2. It’s all good. There is no one tool more important than the others, and none that are not required. I think that total computerisation is dangerous because one loses some of the notions that come at the draughting level. One loses the feel of the material. I also work in 3D. This brings me closer to what I would draw by hand. I still draw manually, but with a different tool.

² Pixel: Picture Element, for example the tiny dots in the photos above (Each dot can vary in colour and brightness).

TM:     In any case, the computer is still just a tool

KB:     There you are. I often see things that have been produced rather carelessly with a computer. That is to say that someone started with an idea and then got swamped with the bright psychedelic images and vivid colours available to them. They needed to have structure. It needs someone to make choices.

TM:     The same problem is present in Airbrush artwork.

KB:     There you are. Previously it was the airbrush, which created plastic art. But not all airbrush works. Because it seems too easy. One can avoid that trap by proper training in the technique required. Actually, it is quite a precise technique and when you eventually acquire this skill, you can get good results, without having to know how to draw, that’s beauty of these things. It’s like the synthesizer. One can go “poot-poot” on a synth, but you are not really playing the synth.

TM:     It should remain physical, organic in any case?

KB:     Yes, because it’s not the synth itself that is playing, it is you who is playing it. It’s you who is drawing; the computer does not do it. The computer is there to help us, to give us the facilities. It is there to save us time, to give us different materials, colours and textures. We make the choices.

TM:     Have you any plans for exhibitions?

KB:     Yes. There is a girl who has already put on exhibitions during many OFFERING concerts and with Magma, and more recently too. I have boxes of drawings; full of things, which are almost successful enough, one day I could use these. I intend to write a book on Magma that will be a very precise diary with many photographs and illustrations. That will use much of what I have produced so far.

TM:     Concerning the music of OFFERING, what do you think of their current approach?

KB:     It’s very simple. I have seen Offering from time to time since the group’s formation. I have not always liked them. It was full of things that I didn’t always like. But when I saw them at the Bataclan, that was the start of a serious maturity. In contrast, I like the Trio very much. WELCOME, the group which Christian ‘recently formed with Simon (Goubert) and the Belmondo brothers, are fabulous.
Les Voix de Magma at the Bataclan were superb. I’ve listened to their album, and that is very good too. They play with a good spirit, but it is said that they only sing what I used to sing, and so they do not add anything great. In fact, they’re really good. They bring many things. There are a lot of things going on. Clearly it is less risky to perform with Les Voix de Magma than with Offering, because Offering involves many improvisations and these depend on circumstances. For me, Christian is more Magma than Offering. But I hold him in great esteem, and respect him for what he does with Offering, even though it has not always been as good as it is now. I have discussed plans with Christian, notably to sing ballads with the Trio. Obviously, I would rather volunteer for that, than to sing with Offering. Possibly, I might even sing in Les Voix de Magma. But having said that, they don’t need me. I say that in all humility and sincerity – they’re magnificent. I would join, not to improve the thing, but for the pleasure of being there, because they do not need improving. I am not here in Malakoff tonight to pay homage to Christian; I’m here for the pleasure of the concert.

TM:     Finally, will PAGA go on tour soon?

KB:     We are at La Cigale on the 14th of March. Someone is working on the touring aspect. In the immediate future there will be many concerts, notably at festivals in May, June, July and the beginning of August. The real tour will start in March 1995, when we will have a new album to promote.

Paga Group Concerts

Blois                  26-05-94
Montlucon              27-05-94 
A clinic in Montluçon  28-05-94
Fnac Forum, Châtelet   31-05-94
Brest                  09-06-94
Ris-Orangis            10-06-94
Lons-le-Saunier        08-07-94
Geneva                 09-07-94
Nice                   10-07-94
Nice                   11-07-94
Château-Renault        21-07-94

A Musical Journey into Space

Philippe Paringaux

These were the original sleeve notes for the Vertigo release of ‘M.D.K.

MAGMA – solitary and proud. An ideal architecture, of metal and glass, keeper of the fire. A still landscape under a frozen sun, like a pale unblinking eye. At the very beginning, the silence of waiting. And then, coming from afar and further still, the echo of a heavy, threatening, throbbing pulsation shaking the earth, the knees and the hands. It’s time to choose: to stay or to run.

It is certainly not a slight surprise to suddenly stumble upon these builders clad in black laying out their own setting and commanding their own crashing din. Fear often accompanies the unheard and, for a long moment, one is utterly stunned. Not however, by the delightfully stealthy fear provoked by masks, but – like lightning hitting your very chest – the fear of a naked face met in the middle of nowhere, a mask that turns into a second skin.

And cut out on this face, a mouth, speaking an unknown or forgotten language… and you turn away. Then, dark and gaping the mouth screams… and you run. But who knows if this apparition is not perhaps telling the truth? Lost, you escape to the comforts of habits and lies, as always living great passions by … proxy.

MAGMA. There is the intelligence restraining impulsiveness, subjugating passions and establishing the reign of rigour and sacrilege – asking for a mental effort. True, one can find other satisfactions in music: self-sufficient beauty, a message of some kind, momentary violence, switched off with the spotlights, dreaming into oblivion until the next record on the juke-box.

But Magma is no juke-box, no dream-merchant. It is beauty, message, violence and dreamy but above all it is a formidable instrument of a no less formidable will. Magma wants, and says “We Want” where others mumble “We Would Like To”, doubtless the reason for the many absurd legends surrounding the group. Magma wants to reach the goal it has set itself: that of building and offering a truly popular music without compromise. A plough tied to a star. Refusing the adult/retarded child relationship with their audience, which makes a tired hooker of most popular music of the day, the people of Magma have once and for all mapped-out their way from which there is no possible deviation.

To pretend, as some do, that Magma’s music is only ‘cerebral’ is another mistake, common and understandable when coming from those who for years are used to purchasing their thrills from the “supermarkets” of art, without capital A, where everything is neatly packaged, ordered and above all, without surprises. Magma’s impulses, controlled as they may appear to be, are otherwise sincere, otherwise profound. Prisoners of the strange edifice of metal and glass, one can hear them shouting from behind the metal with such strength and endurance that one begins to hate the too perfect walls that retain the flood. Perhaps the time has come to understand that liberation does not depend upon the artist, who only shows the way, but upon ourselves, and that these faultless walls are put up inside our heads, while outside Magma is’ knocking relentlessly like hundreds of hammers stealing our heart-beats and bending them, pitiless, to their own rhythm. Sounds, like predatory birds, glide across the sky of voices, are born and die, again and again, like a choir of angels, but not quite like them. Too much tension. Lancinating insistence. This music vibrates, cracks and screams.

MAGMA. Intelligence pitted against intelligence. Leaning on the edge of this shining blade, the paw grabs the passer-by and carries him off conscious and stable. Frost-coloured lucidity, like cocaine. No easy seduction here, and too bad if the whores sell-out at the box-office. Just a terrible, inexorable progression. A perfect glass-­spiral endlessly unfolding and inside it a sea of burning lava. Who wants to break the glass and get burned?

This journey isn’t easy. The music demands of the listener as much as it gives him, more than just a physical presence and some vague “wailings”. It requires attention, and, a new spirit. Beyond its formal beauty, it offers more respect for its listeners than any other; a fierce refusal of being “levelled-out” from beneath.

Communicating on higher levels and sticking to it in the quagmire of “show-biz” could mean being taken, by some at least, as a sort of “mutant”.

Of course, playing Magma’s game is risking giving up one’s illusions and to see the wind of the music take away the thousand pieces of blurred images, vague warmth and hazy sensations which ordinary pop music usually brings out in you by means of single records and other assorted devices (anyway, its charm and its aim also).

Here, opening the door to anguish, many questions are asked, provoked by images of cruel precision, two green eyes transfixed, a metallic vessel with sharp, cutting fins, a steel paw, an hallucinated guide, or a whole people crushed and damned.

Those who have followed Magma’s path, know what these musicians express with their music: the inescapable refusal, like violent vomiting, of a world – not just a given society, but the whole world, where nothing is worth living any more because there isn’t a solitary spark of purity left.

A world of ashes full of stray, vagrant ash(en) souls. And so the men in black go amongst these shadows, brandishing their fists and shouting their warning and their faith in a better place.

Mythical? Kobaïa is perhaps, after all, not so far away. It is deep inside each of us, waiting, frozen and solitary. To undertake the journey to this planet one has to start by opening one’s eyes, to see oneself in one’s entirety, stripped of the masks and of make-up. Magma is there, waiting. A metal mirror.


Didier Lockwood – SURYA

Jazz Collection CD (Arcade 302801)

SURYA was the progressive-fusion group formed by Didier Lockwood (violins) and Jean-My Truong (drums) when they left Zao after its short tour at the beginning of March 1977. The rest of the original line-up was Francis Lockwood (piano and moog), Luc Plouton (synths) and Dominique Bertram (bass). The initial plan was to record an LP for RCA that May, but this was just the start of their record company problems. Shortly after Surya’s formation, Bertram was replaced by Bunny Brunel who had worked with Didier and Francis earlier in the year on the LOCKWOOD ‘Jazz-Rock’ album. The first tour began in Rouen on the 4th of May. In August 1977 Sylvain Marc supplanted Bunny on bass and Surya recorded tile album at Studio Damiens in Paris. This was not simply Didier’s backing group; he was only one fifth of the ensemble and in fact only contributed one composition for the album. Didier is not a great composer anyway, his skill lays with the bow not the pen and his brother contributed the best material for what was essentially an instrumental set. They were a hot young act who stood out as the foremost French jazz-rock combo of the late seventies, while most of the other bands were getting tired and cooling off.

In November 1977 Surya began pestering the record companies for a deal with the tapes of their album. The Tapioca label had a somewhat notorious reputation for releasing sub-standard pressings of albums by Gong and Magma without obtaining the permission of everyone concerned… and, in February 1978, they advertised the album ‘Surya’ (TP 10019). By July 1978, Surya had successfully taken action against an unspecified (now I wonder who that could be?) record company for pirating their tape and blocked the sale of what they considered to be a bootleg. Didier and Jean-My Truong considered taking their chances in the States, and then decided to do another French tour that summer. However, they were not as prepared for this as they wished, and had to rely on the quality of the soloists to carry them through. Surya offered some attractive numbers, but knew their more composed pieces had been superior. Luc Plouton was disenchanted and later quit the group.

Surya were then hindered by a backlash against jazz-rock in the French music industry, which was experiencing a resurgence in interest in A.O.R. and of course punk. By 1979, Surya’s live act had taken on a more progressive feel and they gradually shed the jazz-rock tag. Eventually it took almost two years until the tiny Cornelia label took them on. ‘Surya’ (COR 4310) their first and only album was released at the close of the decade. It has superb jazz-fusion themes such as ‘Aura’ and ‘Patty’, which are reminiscent of Jean-Luc Ponty’s work during the late 70′s, yet it was recorded before Ponty started working in that style. But it also has mellower tunes where the interest lies in the musicianship rather than the score, for example ‘Aspiring Answer’. This mixture of bold jazz-rock and serene passages is held together with frenetic choruses by Didier Lockwood, with strident drumming from Truong. In fact the entire group were fantastic soloists, which was not always in the best interest of the music that they played, rather the opposite at times. But the group was full of vigour and extensive touring helped them to build a lasting reputation, such that I often hear Magma fans relishing those Surya gigs.

In the early eighties, the American Inner City label re-issued this album with a more colourful sleeve, and then in 1987, Cornelia had the tapes digitally remixed by the original recording engineer. At some point the album was released again (ADDA 581 015), but I have never seen this edition. Personally I prefer the original Cornelia LP version, which is more vibrant, and powerful, particularly in the way Truong’s work is presented. One peculiar aspect-is the way the last two pieces have been proffered on the CD. On the LP versions, the sixth and final track is a three-part piece. Part one: ‘Space Travel’ by Jean-My Truong on Syntoba, part two: ‘Stakau’ a funky melange by Sylvain Marc and part three: ‘Do anything you want’ an abysmal jazz-funk piece further spoiled by some pathetic vocals. The drumming on these three pieces is to the forefront of the mix. On the CD however, these three have been lumped together as track 6: ‘Stakau’, but digitally sanitised, effectively removing any semblance of intelligent music. The CD’s bonus track is the original mix of ‘Space Travel’ / ‘Stakau’ / ‘Do anything’ but re-titled ‘Do anything you want’. Generally the remix has toned down the group’s energy and lost some of Didier’s crispness (notably on ‘Agartha’), although the compositions remain the same. This 1993 Arcade CD (a budget release) which is about all you are likely to find these days, uses yet another totally inappropriate cover design. My main criticism of the latest cover is that it employs a photograph of Didier taken fifteen years after the album was recorded! But a real gem of record company sloppiness is the footnote: “Digitally transferred from original CHESS mono and stereo masters”… But for all that, it remains Didier’s finest recording since leaving Magma, however when you listen to the CD I suggest you program your machine to skip track 6.


Jean-Philippe Goude

Drones – Musea FGBG41O2.AR

In 1962, a ten-year-old Parisian began his studies of classical music and the piano. In the late sixties he dabbled with blues/rock bands and jazz for a while but kept his classical bias. Continuing his musicological studies into the early seventies Jean-Philippe Goude also developed his keyboard and writing skills along with a taste for weird sounds, in a group called MADAME BERTRAND. The band eventually dwindled to a duo and then disbanded when, in 1975, the Saravah label released Goude’s first album with percussionist Olivier Cole. Entitled ‘Jeunes Années’ it is apparently interesting but with some weak compositions. A few months later he teamed up with Bernard Paganotti to form WEIDORJE, working alongside Patrick Gauthier on keyboards. The strain of their battle for recognition led to Goude’s disenchanted departure in 1979, shortly before Paganotti broke up the group. Goude wanted more studio work and soon joined the people at Ramses Studio in Paris, working with Ramon Pipin’s ODEURS and Richard Pinhas, before settling down to record a solo album. The compositions first came out as a private pressing for a gymnastics federation, with the title ‘Sur un air de Gymnastique’. But then the music was rearranged for a proper commercial release. In 1980 the Ramses label (distributed by Polydor) unleashed ‘Drones’, a significant spiritual creation which in many ways is a direct descendant of Weidorje and a forerunner of the Gothic-Fusion that Paga Group present today. The guest list on ‘Drones’ is pretty phenomenal, including Blasquiz, Gauthier, Paganotti, Pinhas, Widemann, the Quatour Margand and the Guillard brothers. The album begins in classic Zeuhl style with a number that Weidorje used to play live (listen to tapes of Rombas 14-10-78 for example): ‘Les Saturnales’, which is exquisitely supplemented by the voice of Klaus Blasquiz. ‘Dies Irae’ is a major piece of Zeuhl Music, with similarities to some of Vander’s ‘Attahk’, but more closely linked to the Weidorje / Paga composition ‘Urantia’. Another tune with a clear Zeuhl attitude is ‘Cantilene’, a duet with Gauthier on piano and Goude on synth. The CD closes with a bonus track that had been originally intended for the LP, a chorus for three mini-moogs lasting five minutes. ‘Trio de Mini-Moogs’ is performed by Goude, Gauthier and Widemami. On the whole the album is a unique and personal vision of the use of electronic music within contemporary European culture. Just as Musea say, ‘Drones’ is Absolutely Essential.

Jean-Philippe went on to work with ODEURS and then got heavily involved in music for dance, film and television, releasing at least three albums of soundtrack music, including ‘Méhi-Mélodies’ which is quite entertaining; a cross between 10CC and Tangerine Dream. At last in 1987 he began to get more involved as a composer again, culminating in 1992 with a contemporary chamber music album ‘De Anima’.


Jean-Philippe Goude

De Anima – Hopi Mesa 452025 CD

Peter Thelen – Exposé #2

Jean-Philippe Goude may be best remembered for his tenure with Richard Pinhas, as a member of Weidorje, or for his excellent electronic orientated solo album ‘Drones’ from the early 80′s. ‘De Anima’ is his latest project, and unlike his previous works, this one is very much a study in neo-classical chamber music, in many cases featuring a five-piece string ensemble plus clarinet, bassoon and occasional piano. In fact Goude is credited on less than a handful of the album’s fifteen tracks, which range from pleasant-enough robust melodic excursions to stark experimental duets for violin and piano with bizarre unidentifiable sounds and voices lurking in dark corners, often with some electronic or taped effects hovering above. This is an album with something for everyone, plenty of variety and scope, and an excellent sense of conjunction, tying together some radically different tracks into one smooth flowing wholeness: Just when it seems like it has gone too far into the fringeland, a rhythmic string-driven melodic tune jumps in out of nowhere and carries the listener in an entirely different direction. Some of the album’s more interesting tracks include ‘Duo’, an impressionistic piece for violins, piano and (unaccredited) woodwinds, creating melodic fog images punctuated by piano. ‘Libera Me’ is an operatic vocal piece with supporting cello and violins. ‘Salve Regina’ is driven by tubular bells, fortified with violin and cello, supporting an almost Carl Orff like female vocal lead. ‘Triptyque’ is perhaps the album’s most experimental cut, a solo violin piece is backed by arrhythmic squawking reeds, found sounds and treated piano, creating a very unusual atmospheric feel. ‘Pendule’ brings in a two-part intermittent vocal melody interspersed with repeated spoken words and background electronic textures, another in the atmospheric category. ‘Caractères-Pavane’, ‘Allemande’ and ‘Gaillarde’ are some of the more conventional melodic tunes that keep the album accessible, strategically located in the overall programme. A spirited and mesmerizing album that I would recommend to those willing to transcend the standard fare.


Astralasia

Univerïa Zekt – Magick Eye CD 11 (37 mins – 1993)

When I appraised Astralasia’s ‘Pitched up at the edge of reality’ album in Ork Alarm! #17 I was probably too gentle in my criticism of the affrontery of this group in plagiarizing ‘Soleil d’Ork’ so blatantly. Now I sat down today ready to vent my spleen on their latest creation, only to be astounded by the care Astralasia have taken over what would surely be an almost unimaginable travesty of Vander’s music. The strangest thing is that they have converted samples of Stella Vander’s voice into an exceedingly enjoyable CD of dance music! Whether or not you like this mini-album will depend to a large extent on how you view the morals of sampling, and what you perceive to be the reasons behind this “tribute” to the people of Kobaïa. The first track ‘Univerïa Zekt (Kobaïan love chant)’ is the pathetically simple repetition of the introductory theme lifted direct from Magma’s 1976 ‘Üdü Wüdü’, as presented on Astralasia’s previous disc. At this very moment, I expect Jannick is chalking up a big pentagram and searching for his trident… The next cut is ‘Unverïa Zekt (fur dihhël)’ and for the first two minutes it is a trance-like cyclical theme composed almost entirely of Stella’s voice taken from one bar of… I’m not sure; it’s either ‘Les Voix’ or perhaps ‘A Fiïèh’. The backing for these few minutes of surreal vocals is a throbbing ORS synth drone, possibly extracted from ‘Üdü Wüdü’. Unless you have a taste for 1990′s pop, you may be horrified by the techno-treatment that engulfs the remainder of ‘Fur Dihhël’, yet much as I dislike this style of music it is certainly interesting to hear what a 1990′s Magma pop single might sound like. The timbre of the sample of Stella’s voice is breathtaking: it makes me wonder if Stella collaborated in the production of this album?

The last three tracks are wonderful escapist music to get stoned to. The third theme, entitled ‘Univerïa Zekt (‘Wlasïk steuhn abcension mïx)’ allows messrs Swordfish and Haynes to deliver a fine piece of spatial ambient music with an underlying hint of homage to Magma. ‘Univerïa Zekt (Mekanïk mïx)’ follows, with what sounds slightly like Stella’s vocal chords but the tune reminds me more of Tangerine Dream. ’1001 mïx’ concludes the album with an alternative mix of the previous track. In summation therefore; you should either avoid this album like the plague or buy it immediately – just be prepared to be either astonished…. or violently ill.


Jean Pascal Boffo

Nomades (Musea FGBG 4100.AR)

Ten instrumental tracks, with a sort of arabesque jazzy pulse. The ‘Prologue’ is a short symphonic keyboard piece leading to the first oriental section; ‘Caravane’ with its nomadic climates recalling the atmosphere of Laurent Thibault’s solo album. The third number, ‘Snake’s Dance’ is mildly jazz influenced with a touch of the sinuous guitar style that Boffo used to greater effect on his earlier recordings. This segues into ‘Turbulences’, a percussive variation on his new eclectic concept. The Boffo guitar sound returns for ‘L’Oeup du Desert’ with more orchestrated synths. ‘Arabesques’ and ‘Nomades’ follow; these themes are pleasant enough, yet underdeveloped. ‘Balaena’ is more of the same idea, which grows tiresome. Overall, I was quite disappointed with this release in comparison to his earlier classic albums; he has softened his approach too far for my taste. Whilst remaining a promising composer, this new path is significantly less intriguing.


The superb return of Magma

Bataclan, Paris 24-05-73

Christian Lebrun

Magma and Zao were on the same bill for an “underground” week at the end of May ’73 at the Bataclan. When he was with Magma (up to the summer of ’72) François Cahen’s piano was the hottest element, in the jazzy sense. And in a small way he continued to impart this direction on Zao’s music. Zao played long pieces in which the hypnotic effects of repetition played a big role, but always tempered by their suppleness, and the latent swing, which amplified Mauricia Platon’s vocals. They succeeded in creating very beautiful moments, when Seffer’s sax and the violin took off in free flight, while alongside them was a very effective rhythm section and the blend of piano / vocals pursuing their own path. The audience at the Bataclan witnessed the beginnings of a great group, struggling to survive in the French desert.

MAGMA et ZAO Bataclan 24 Mai 73

In his traditional introductory discourse, Giorgio Gomelsky remarked that this was the first Parisian concert by Magma for a year, almost to the day, and the large and faithful audience encouraged them. The two pillars were there: Christian Vander enthroned at his drums and Klaus Blasquiz, the voice of Magma, standing beside a table on which many, varied percussive accessories were arranged. Klaus and Christian were backed by brass, bass, organ and piano. I was surprised to see a guitarist, Claude Olmos who had worked with many French groups, notably ALICE. In addition: on some numbers there was a choir of up to three ladies, which included Stella Vander. The concert was divided into two parts, doubling the potency of the band. The first part was a succession of pieces, of varying length, such as ‘Soï-Soï’, which allowed one to appreciate the cohesion of the ensemble or the solitary flights of one musician or another. It is scarcely original to stress this, but the long solo intervention by Vander was a captivating moment. The bewitching manner, by which he seemed to construct a melody from his kit, then to demolish it with fierce violence, was a sight to behold. This first part confirmed the richness of Magma’s repertoire, with all the contrasts, the opposing tonalities, and the mixture of musical styles from the heart of Africa and central Europe.

But it was with the second half, entirely given over to the noble ‘Mekanïk Kommandöh’, that they raised themselves to a new peak. This long and marvellous opus; First of all preparation, then expectation, then anguish, then construction, then heat, then fire… ‘Mekanïk Kommandöh’ by this incarnation of Magma was, without the slightest exaggeration, one of the most impressive things you could ever see. The choir was employed magnificently, while the instruments, led by the drums, assailed the senses superbly in their forcible approach. This was a work full of maturity, to which the public responded with a corresponding maturity. Magma continued their fight against incomprehension. That concert at the Bataclan gave us new hope for the future.


ORK! UPDATE

CONCERTS

LES VOIX DE MAGMA

04-05-94     Théâtre Fémina, Bordeaux (21h, 120F)

DAVE KERMAN

Dave Kerman (from the American group U TOTEM, a true chamber-rock band who were influenced by Henry Cow’s ‘In praise of Learning’) has accepted the role of drummer with Roger Trigaux’s PRESENT C.O.D. PERFORMANCE. They have an album lined up for an American label (not Cuneiform, because apparently there was some contention about the lyrics on one number). Also scheduled are tours of the States and Europe. So the band is now a guitar duo (Roger and Reginald Trigaux) plus drums.

HAMTAÏ

HAMTAÏ had to cancel their concert in Strasbourg at the end of February, but were hoping to re-schedule it for April or May. (Shades of their ancestor’s misfortunes with concert cancellations here).

ESKATON

The ESKATON compact disc release of ’4 Visions’ which is due this summer on the APM label will also include the tracks from their single, ‘Le Chant de La Terre’ / ‘If.

LES VOIX GIGS?

I hear there was a possibility of a gig by Les Voix de Magma on the west coast of France near the Spanish border this spring.

It is not confirmed yet, but Les Voix de Magma are trying to arrange a series of spectacular concerts with L’Ensemble Orchestral de l’Isère (a symphony orchestra) from March to June 1995. Stella says that one of the problems with this project is the amount / cost of rehearsals that would be required. If these events do reach fruition, a choir of 80 vocalists will back them! (The Choeur de Reims in the north, and the Choeur de La Vallée du Rhône elsewhere). The pieces performed are likely to be ‘Les Cygnes et les Corbeaux’ and ‘Zëss’.

AKT TOULOUSE 1976

We are fairly reliably informed that the next AKT release will be ‘Toulouse 1976′. Meanwhile another bootleg CD ‘Mekanïk Zeuhl Wortz’ (Kiss No. 39) which is the 2nd part of L’Opera, Reims 2-3-76 has just been released. Please remember the musicians get no money from bootleg sales, avoid Kiss 39, and buy AKT IV instead!

SHYLOCK

SHYLOCK – the King Crimsonesque progressive band will have both their albums released on two CD’s by Musea with a total of eight bonus tracks. At the moment ‘Gialorgues’ and ‘Ile de Fièvre’ are only available on vinyl, being Musea reissues. Another long awaited CD reissue is the album by ARACHNOID (recorded in 1979), which will have five extra pieces when the Musea boffins have completed their work.

LA DISCOGRAPHIE DU ROCK FRANCAIS

Francis Grosse and Bernard Gueffier have completed the third edition of their essential book on French Rock music (Progressive, New-Music, Fusion, Electronic, etc but thankfully ignoring the pop/variety albums). ‘La Discographie du Rock Francais’ was first published in 1984, then corrected and enlarged in 1986. Eight years later it has been updated with the addition of the French Hard Rock scene and Folk/Progressive acts, hundreds of album sleeves are pictured and every band has a complete description in French and English. Each group has their entire record (LP, 45, Maxi and CD) output listed with full reference data. This book is indispensable for any collector of French music.

FATON

Faton is playing live with Didier Lockwood again in the Cahen/Lockwood Quartet; they performed in Epernay on the same night as Les Voix de Magma were in Malakoff. Didier also has an eleven-piece Violin Orchestra who will release a CD on the JMS label in April. A rather similar news item is that Yochk’o Seffer has an eleven-piece saxophone ensemble by the name of FOREVER COLTRANE. Guess whose music they play… Forever Coltrane hope to record a CD at the end of May.

VANDER A.K.A HASSAN RASHID?

Rolf Spengler has been studying the LP by KHAN JAMAL called ‘Give the vibes some’ (Palm 010) which was recorded in Paris on the 28th of March 1974. This is the album that reportedly featured Christian Vander on drums on the first and third tracks, yet the sleeve credits one Hassan Rashid as the drummer. Rolf investigated this rare jazz record with a friend who is a professional musician and long time Magma fan too. Neither of them has ever heard of Hassan Rashid, which would seem incredible when you realise that the drumming on this album is of a very high technical level. Both our researchers recognised drum structures, which appear absolutely identical to the 1970′s versions of ‘Ptäh’, which are typical of Christian Vander’s work. “If you have tapes of these concerts, listen closely to some of Christian’s drum solos, in particular from Brussels, Bremen or Hamburg 1974, but also later ones will do, maybe St. Malo 1978 or Draguignan 1983. The hi hat and drums a few minutes after the beginning of ‘Pure Energy’ on the Jamal LP are identical to parts of the solos mentioned above, especially the Bremen solo. OK the rest of this piece is not typical of Vander’s playing. But listen to the power and speed of the drumming. ’35,000 Feet Up’ starts with a combination of cymbals and toms reminding one of Vander. So do the next cymbals passage, and the combination of cymbals and bass drum. The following section is something you can hear on the tape of ‘Ptäh’ from Hamburg 74. But then comes the most convincing part. Over the years Vander did that typical combination of two beats on the bass drum and two beats on the hi hat / snare. Listen to the above solos just before they culminate with Vander singing ‘Weidoss’, or something like that. It is 100% identical for several minutes, and I don’t know any other drummer doing these figures.” In conclusion, they had no doubt that the drumming really seems to be by none other than Theïus Bïngöh (i.e. Monsieur Vander). We believe that it is another part of the sessions, which were used without Vander’s permission, on the other Palm releases (‘Fiesta in Drums’ and ‘Ch. Vander et les 3 Jeffs’). The ’3 Jeffs’ album had a picture of Christian on the sleeve, this was covered up by an orange paper banner in an attempt to disassociate Vander from the album. To avoid further trouble, the record company presumably used a pseudonym.

KLAUS BLASQUIZ

Further to Klaus’ comments this issue, in an interview in Batteur Mag (4-94), he concludes by saying that his future plans include joining a vocal group… but he told me today that it was not Les Voix de Magma.


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