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Thread: Origins of Magma and Zeuhl

  1. #1

    Origins of Magma and Zeuhl

    Today by chance I tuned in into a local classical music radio station and was suddenly surprised to hear a piece that seemed to be a direct precursor of the musical stylings of Magma and zeuhl in general. Sadly, after the end, the announcer didn't mention the name of the piece, so I'm left wondering.
    What I heard, for several minutes, was a constantly repeated two chord sequence -one upper, and the other downwards-, mainly played with horns and trumpets and some violins. The main aspect, thus, was that there was a chorus predominantly of male voices or at least very masculine sounding, singing the same pattern most of the time, again very similar to Magma.
    At one time, drums came in, very loud, again like Magma. But instead of playing the sophisticated patterns of Christian Vander, the drums constantly played a rat-tat-tat military pattern.
    What was this? A modern opera? I've read Bartok cited as a Magma influence, but don't know if this was a Bartok piece. In any case, the following piece, as mentioned by the announcer, were five Hungarian dances, by Brahms.

  2. #2
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    Check the website for that local classical music radio station - many times they will list the most recently played songs.

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    Member Socrates's Avatar
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    Can't remember whether Carmina Burana fits that precise description, but that is often mentioned as an influence.

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socrates View Post
    Can't remember whether Carmina Burana fits that precise description, but that is often mentioned as an influence.
    without knowing anything, I would guess that it's Carmina Burana or one of Orff's associated pieces. There is a LOT of influence on Magma in there.
    Steve F.

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  5. #5
    Thanks for the answers, but I found out by calling the station. It happens that far from being a precursor, is by Philip Class, a contemporary...

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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoyiceu View Post
    Thanks for the answers, but I found out by calling the station. It happens that far from being a precursor, is by Philip Class, a contemporary...
    Cool!

    here's this - compare to Wurdah Itah.

    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    here's this - compare to Wurdah Itah.
    And in case you couldn't understand the words...


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    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    And in case you couldn't understand the words...
    that was great. thanks!
    Steve F.

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Hilarious Biff!

  10. #10
    Pshaw! You want misheard lyrics, I give you misheard lyrics!

    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  11. #11
    I remember someone a few years back who on one of the newsgroup sites (probably avant-progressive or something) who used to constantly harp on the fact that Wurdah Itah pretty much ripped off Stravinsky's Les Noces (at least I think I have the composer and piece correct - I could be way off). So that's a possibility too.

  12. #12
    I've heard now segments of Orff's piece and Les Noces, besides the Glass composition, and the similarities with Magma are obvious, with Orff, Stravinski and Bartok having, as far as I know, being recognized by Vander for years as major influences, besides John Coltrane. Of course, the Glass piece was composed well after Magma had been active for years, so we can only talk about coincidences there, I think. Having said all that, I feel I don't want to hear the Orff nor Les Noces again for the rest of my life, and the Glass composition is barely more listenable to my ears., although I do enjoy some of Stravinsky's other works and Rite of Spring is one of my favorite compositions of all time.
    Last edited by yoyiceu; 07-19-2017 at 06:50 PM.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Orff: Carmina Catulli and Trionfo di Aphrodite is closer to Wurdah Itah than Carmina Burana.
    Stravinsky: Les Noces is obviously a great influence.
    I dont hear John Coltrane (but perhaps Elvin Jones), but I do hear Motown and gospel.

  14. #14
    Pharao Sanders and Leon Thomas were influences especially on the first one. The title track and its latin american rhythm is directly influenced by a Pharao Sanders composition. Vander was a big fan of Leon Thomas and asked Zabu to scat like Leon Thomas, using then fantasy sounds which became Kobaien.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they don’t understand!"

  15. #15
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Socrates View Post
    Can't remember whether Carmina Burana fits that precise description, but that is often mentioned as an influence.
    without knowing anything, I would guess that it's Carmina Burana or one of Orff's associated pieces. There is a LOT of influence on Magma in there.
    that was my first thought as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    And in case you couldn't understand the words...



    Quote Originally Posted by Dana5140 View Post
    Pshaw! You want misheard lyrics, I give you misheard lyrics!





    Quote Originally Posted by alucard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    I don't hear John Coltrane (but perhaps Elvin Jones), but I do hear Motown and gospel.
    Pharao Sanders and Leon Thomas were influences especially on the first one. The title track and its latin american rhythm is directly influenced by a Pharao Sanders composition. Vander was a big fan of Leon Thomas and asked Zabu to scat like Leon Thomas, using then fantasy sounds which became Kobaien.
    I musty say that I never really heard the Coltrane influences in their early albums... Like Martin says, Sanders is a more evident direct influence
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by yoyiceu View Post
    Of course, the Glass piece was composed well after Magma had been active for years, so we can only talk about coincidences there, I think.
    Not necessarily. Heavyweight contemporary composers like Andriessen, Takemitsu and Nordheim actually did acknowledge having heard Magma. Whether they were "influenced" is a completely other matter, of course - still, these were the radical days when Takemitsu wrote pieces for Stomu Yamash'ta and J.A. Caesar (both progressive [somewhat] rock musicians), Cage wrote for Demetrio Stratos, Nordheim was an outspoken enthusiast of Zappa and even some of Pink Floyd's electronic-oriented work, and Andriessen proclaimed himself an anarchist. Another rather prominent artist/musician/impressario with an adherence to Magma, and one which isn't very often mentioned in respect to this, is Guy Laliberté, the founder of the Cirque du Soleil performance company.
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    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    J.A. Caesar
    There is a lot of Zeuhl influence in J.A. Caesar's [Seazer] work.


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    Member Socrates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Not necessarily. Heavyweight contemporary composers like Andriessen, Takemitsu and Nordheim actually did acknowledge having heard Magma. Whether they were "influenced" is a completely other matter, of course - still, these were the radical days when Takemitsu wrote pieces for Stomu Yamash'ta and J.A. Caesar (both progressive [somewhat] rock musicians), Cage wrote for Demetrio Stratos, Nordheim was an outspoken enthusiast of Zappa and even some of Pink Floyd's electronic-oriented work, and Andriessen proclaimed himself an anarchist. Another rather prominent artist/musician/impressario with an adherence to Magma, and one which isn't very often mentioned in respect to this, is Guy Laliberté, the founder of the Cirque du Soleil performance company.
    Glass acknowledged - I think it was in the booklet to the original version of Einstein on the Beach - that groups like Tangerine Dream were important in opening the ears of listeners to music like his own.

  19. #19
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    The lost Magma album


  20. #20
    Ι am surprised that no one has mentioned Miles Davis. Bitches Brew is an evident, significant influence on Magma's music.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Who was the cpmposer Univers Zero kept referencing, the one nobody could find anything by? Huybrechts or something?

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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Who was the cpmposer Univers Zero kept referencing, the one nobody could find anything by? Huybrechts or something?
    I have a CD of Huybrechts's chamber music on the Vox Temporis label. I find it rather Stravinsky-ish.

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