Christian Vander’s Magma (pictured) were always the most strange and inventive of all the prog bands. While the work of many of their peers languishes in the cultural dustbin, the high-concept efforts of Magma have survived the tests of time, and they continue to enjoy just a strong cult following: not only among Mojo-reading older gents but also thrill-seeking diggers and even Ricardo Villalobos, who liberally sampled a Vander track for his club smash 2008 ‘Les Enfants’.
Magma’s first album Kobaia (1970) finds the band telling the story of a people fleeing a doomed earth to settle on the planet Kobaia. Subsequent albums explored other mythical lands, but Kobaia remains at the centre of what Magma is about, and many of their songs are sung the Kobaian language. How fucking prog is that?
Next week on Tuesday 6 October, London’s Barbican is playing host to Celestial Mass, an evening of music of curated by legendary collector, Twisted Nerve/Finders Keepers boss and confirmed Magma nut, Mr Andy Votel.
Topping the bill are Magma themselves. Still led by the charismatic, classically-trained "drummer and mystic" Vander, the band are celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2009. With a towering, symphonic sound that fuses elements of rock, minimalism, 20th century classic, jazz and even opera, Magma are quite something to behold in the live arena.
Also performing will be JP Massiera, the legendary French producer who worked under a number of guises, including Herman’s Rocket and Visitors. Pioneer of the cosmic disco sound and general purveyor of bonkers psychedelic textures and arrangements, Massiera is a legend in record-collecting circles, and one of the last great unsung heroes of 20th century dance music.
Rounding off the programme are London 10-piece Chrome Hoof , whose penchant for proggy sounds and stage theatrics is well-documented.
Tickets are available from £10 and up, and can be booked here. If you fancy experiencing this prog/disco extravaganza free of charge, you many want to enter our competition to win a pair of tickets. To be entered into the draw, simply e-mail your name and the word ‘Magma’ to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our winner will will be notified no later than Monday 5 October.
Oh, and that’s not all: hardened JP Massiera fans and intrigued newcomers alike should head to the CAMP (City Arts and Music Project), the handsome new bar-cum-arts-space on London’s City Road, tonight, Thursday 1 October. Massiera will be participating in a Q&A session and DJing with Andy Votel, Bill Brewster and Doug Shipton.
"JP Massiera’s production style and technique in the late 60s and early 70s, a pre-DJ, pre-remix era are astounding to listen to today. His tightly packed productions, experimenting with electronic sound, distorting basslines and sampling laughter, animal noises, vocals and anything else, are so avant garde and obscure that they shouldn¹t work, but his layers ofdisco-esque beats – which pre-date disco by a number of years – alongside this experimental, atmospheric sound come together beautifully. This is the reason why he’s so respected globally and his LP¹s change hands for £100s today."
Sounds pretty good right? Entry for CAMP is free, and more info can be found at thecamplondon.com