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MAGMA

Krautrock • Germany


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Magma biography
Unaware of the French Zeuhl pioneers, to which they bear little resemblance, MAGMA, the German duo of drummer Siegfried SCHOLZ and keyboardist Detlef GEHRKE (originally a trio with a guitarist) released their only LP ''Rock Duo >>Magma<<'' in 1975 (Elrec 1026). A very prolific band, performing up to 15 times a month, they existed from 1973 to 1978 with no further line-up changes. The CD version of 2003 (Garden of Delights) contains five previously unreleased bonus tracks, four of which are live.

Their sound has been described as a mix of symphonic prog, jazz and psychedelia, resembling to acts such as HANSSON & KARLSSON, 2066 & THEN or ANDROMEDA.

Sources:
http://www.expose.org/index.php/articles/display/magma-rock-duo-magma-2
http://www.diregarden.com/god083.html

Biography by aapatsos with thanks to yam yam

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Concert 1971: Theatre 140 BruxellesConcert 1971: Theatre 140 Bruxelles
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3.26 | 16 ratings
Rock Duo »Magma«
1975

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MAGMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Rock Duo »Magma« by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.26 | 16 ratings

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Rock Duo »Magma«
Magma Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

2 stars A good old-fashioned German psychedelia.

A German duo MAGMA (not related to the famous French Zeuhl combo lol) has appeared in mid 1970s with only one album shot and disappeared soon. This "Rock Duo Magma" is an unknown (but a tad known overthere) stuff, their only one.

Basically their motivation in this album (and also on stage I imagine) might be keyboard-based bluesy rock with amateurish voices, and obviously Detlef's keyplay weirdness, kaleidoscopic appearances should solidify their soundscape. Every tune has no complicated melody line nor particular sound vision, and reminds me of authentic psychedelic rock like 13th Floor Elevators or something. The atmosphere via their creation is really anachronistic as if I might ride a time machine to go back a decade before (and in a sense of pleasure indeed).

From the very beginning a massive departure gong and bizarre keyboard electronics squeeze some expectation into my mind. Persistent key flavour is fulminant addiction really. Needless to say, the most brilliant star is keyboard play ... yes, we cannot feel any Krautrock element if no colourfully grey-pink keyboard psychedelia. Sadly every production / composition of the tracks is not so good enough to be called as a rock gem but simultaneously well understood that they had made a remarkable effort for shooting impressive music bullets ... e.g. acid folk texture here and there, or Siegfried's solo drumming sounds a bit heartwarming even upon such a dry-fruity, theatrical keyboard stage.

Not recommended as a masterpiece in Krautrock scene but only for collectors or for Krautrock manias but at least for me, it's a pleasure to meet such an obscurity featuring authentic German psychedelic keyboard approaches.

 Rock Duo »Magma« by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.26 | 16 ratings

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Rock Duo »Magma«
Magma Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This German duo originated from the city of Gelsenkirchen, featuring Siegfried Scholz on drums/vocals and Detlef Gehrke on keyboards/vocals.Their roots though go back in early-70's in a school band, when performing aloongside guitarist Dieter Kuck.When Kuck quit in the summer of 73', the remaining duo decided to move on under the name of Rock Duo Magma, playing numerous lives (at least 10 gigs per month) and even visiting Holland for live shows.In 1975 they felt it was time to release an album, so they visited Helmut Reketat's Elrec Studio in Gelsenkirchen.A sum of about 20 tracks was recorded and seven pieces made it to the first pressing, released the same year.Reputedly a second pressing followed a bit later without the Elrec logo.

It's not hard to imagine that Scholz and Gehrke played keyboard-based psychedelic music in the vein of Swedish pioneers HANSSON & KARLSSON, adapting many elements from the loose side of the German scene and creating diverse atmospheres, executed on piano, Hammond organ and synthesizer.The material is based on varied tempos with a strong psychedelic color, soft rhythms leave their place to more furious grooves and a bunch of light jazzy influences, passing from minimalistic textures to neurotic synth-drenched instrumentals.Vocals are typical of a German singer, pretty irritating and slightly accented.Fortunately there are no needless drum soloing or excessive keyboard fanfares, the music is very tight, keeping a balance between lyricism and instrumental orgasms and even some tracks are close to great, featuring sinister atmospheres and an odd Kraut Rock background of spontaneous experimentation.

As the original vinyl copies became very rare, Garden of Delights re-released the album in 2003 with an extra set of bonus tracks.While these have much in common with the sound of the original album, there is definitely a more pronounced Classical/symphonic range, based on eerie synthesizers with spacious touches, backed up by narcotic organ-driven rhythms and some strong jazzy acrobatics.Four of them were recorded live in a youth club in Marl, while ''Fur Elise'' was an unreleased studio recording.

In 1977 the duo recorded some demo more tracks at Gerd Fortak's Emscherland Studios, which were sent to Brain for evaluation, but apparently turned down, propably due to their uninteresting lyrics.Rock Duo Magma split in 1978 due to Gehrke's work and family commitments.

Underground 70's keyboard-based Psych Rock, up there with similar German acts such as TWOGETHER and SIXTY-NINE.Atmospheric and deeply psychedelic music with some jazzy and Classical flourishes.Recommended.

 Rock Duo »Magma« by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.26 | 16 ratings

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Rock Duo »Magma«
Magma Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MAGMA from Germany apparently didn't know about the French band with the same name. Their sole album was released in 1975 but it sounds like it came from the late sixties. This band was a duo of drums and keyboards with some bass sounds, synths and plenty of organ leading the way. They sound more like Proto- Prog to me than Krautrock.

"Jessica" opens with a gong before we get this distorted sounding keyboard of some sort buzzing away as drums and organ fill out the sound. Vocals before a minute. Love that fuzzed out sound. It turns spacey before 4 minutes during an all instrumental interlude. I like how it speeds up at times. "Blue Jean Woman" opens with piano and a beat as the vocals join in. A mid-paced beginning before melancholic organ replaces the piano after 2 minutes. Nice. Piano and vocals are back before 4 minutes and they continue to the end. "6 Minutes Release Rock" starts out with an organ melody as the drums join in then some fuzz. Catchy stuff as the vocals arrive just before a minute. Love the drumming. Spacey synths blow in around 3 minutes then we get a drum solo that lasts for 2 minutes. The organ then storms the gate as the drums continue, the tempo has picked up as well.

"Marmalade" opens with pulsating organ and fuzz then we get a change a minute in as we get some impressive organ, then the vocals join in as the drums continue. I like the vocals here. A cool instrumental from 2 1/2 minutes to 3 minutes with fuzz galore. "Embryo" has an organ/drum intro that then slows down as the vocals join in. Nice bass here as well. This is very much an organ driven tune. The pace picks up 4 minutes in to the end. "Turn" has this catchy drum/organ melody as the vocals join in. Love the drumming. Not a big fan of the determined vocals though. Bass sounds help out and I really like the chorus on this one. "Floating Smog" has what sounds like floating organ(maybe synths) in the background as drums and an organ melody lead the way. Vocals join in, I like this. Things get more intense after 3 minutes, great sound here.

A low 4 stars but I like this one too much to drop my rating to 3 stars.

 Rock Duo »Magma« by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.26 | 16 ratings

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Rock Duo »Magma«
Magma Krautrock

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thanks to me this band was added to progarchives so I feel obliged to write some review now, to draw this band near to nowadays good music lovers:

Magma is a very little known nowadays band which seems to had very prolific career in seventies in fact. I've found information that they existed from 1973 until 1978 and during these 6 years they played many concerts and acquired quite big fanbase in "underground scene" of Germany. Taking into consideration such long time of existence it's really strange that they were able to record only this one, sole album "Rock Duo Magma" in 1975. Especially that this record is a rally brilliant example of perfect mix of symphonic prog, jazz and intelligent psychedelia (not too many stupid "sound effects" generated in the studio).

1. "Jessica" - very good psych track with a bit strange but enjoyable vocals (all lyrics on this album are in English language). Whole song in filled with fantastic organ solos which are presented almost after every verse. Also the main organ riff is very catchy and I can hear some symphonic influences in its "structure". Detlef Gehrke from the beginning proof that he's a very good organist who's enough talented to fill the album with his keyboards and make it interesting. No guitar required! I have only one minor complaint to this song: synthesizer buzzing in the background during whole track is a bit tiresome and surely not necessary. Maybe they just wanted to create more "trippy" sound here?

2. "Blue Jean Woman" - very good rather slow tempo song with evident jazz overtones. It starts with very atmospheric, laid-back singing and acoustic piano. After 2 minutes Detlef is switching his keyboard instrument and present long, "moody" Hammond solo. It sounds really fantastic and magical. Solo starts very melancholic, slow-tempo and gradually changes to more dynamic but still very atmospheric part. Song finishes with only piano and vocals again, so the "circle" is closed.

3. "6 Minutes Release Rock" - much more synth-oriented track with lots of spacey synthesizer flights. Detlef Gehrke seems to use EMS VC3 synthesizer instead of Moog or ARP (anyway it sounds like this kind of synth for me), so the music automatically starts to show some similarities to Pink Floyd. However most of the song is filled by long, not so adventurous drum solo. One of the weakest track in this album.

4. "Marmalade" - the shortest song in the main album begin with fast-tempo melody in the vain of 60' rock'n'roll played on organ and quirky synthesizer. But after 1 minute music completely shifts its direction into gothic-like music with dark sounding organ. Somehow Vand Der Graaf Generator influenced but with completely different, more psychy vocal approach. Very good synth solo included. Clearly one of the highlights of this album.

5. "Embryo" - another fantastic composition with perfect sounding Hammond all over the place. Song is filled with incredibly enjoyable organ soloing (no other keyboards in here). First part of this track is more jazzy oriented, while the second part is evidently symphonic oriented. About 4 minute bass (probably bass pedal of Hammond organ) starts to play very groovy rhythm a la "Rondo" which together with inspired organ melodies create really magic, "The Nice"-like atmosphere. What a pity composition if fading out after awhile... I noticed that vocal in this song seems to be very similar to Tyburn Tall's (another German prog rock band) singer Klaus Fresenius. I don't know who was a main vocalist in Magma (both musicians are credited with vocals) but one of them seems to have extremely similar voice to Klaus! But maybe it's because of a German accent? Anyway this song is another winner in "Rock Duo Magma".

6. "Turn" - not so memorable composition with a bit annoying vocal parts and no catchy melody but organ solo in the middle is good as always. In fact it sound very 60'-like (1967- 1960 period). No synths, only organ, drums, vocals and bass (very loud & good bass lines to be honest, if it was played on bass pedals by keyboardist I really have to congratulate him now. Bravo!).

7. "Floating Smog" - the last song on original LP release. The most psychedelic one with dominant keyboard which sound as some strange synthesizer or organ with some difficult to be described effect. Monotonous drum pattern and repetitive organ layers in the background create very trippy but enjoyable effect. Vocals are quite "hysteric" and suites perfectly to the mood of "Floating Smog".

+ BONUS:

8. "Heaven and Earth" - CD reissue of "Rock Magma Duo" included 5 bonus tracks: 4 recorded live (however audience not audible in any tracks) and 1 previously unreleased studio one. First bonus track "Heaven and Earth" was surely recorded after their sole studio album. Sound is much richer thanks to use of bigger range of keyboards, especially evident is (probably) ARP Solina String Ensemble. This track is more symphonic oriented thanks to this instrumentation. However occasional thunder sounds seem to be clear psychedelic motif.

9. "Blind Girl" - it's the first song with slight quality problems (some vole fluctuation in several moments), but song is very good by itself and represent more psychedelic sound of the band. Thanks to organ dark main melody it has Gothic feeling similar to "Marmalade".

10. "A Day in My Life" - another good song with symphonic tendencies evident in string synthesizer wall of sound and Moog (it seems to be real Moog here) eruptions. "A Day in My Life" also features good organ solo.

11. "Hand Are On The Waves" - short song with mediocre melody and vocals but with lots of synthesizer leads and soloing. Mainly for fans of spacey krautrock and synth lovers.

12. "Fur Elise" - only Hammond organ, drums and Beethoven's composition...it just has to be good! And it is :-). Clearly influences by Keith Emerson's or Ekseption's classical pieces re-workings. However this "cover" is rather faithful to the original what makes them similar to staff of such German bands as "Pink Mice" and "Electra"(album "Adaptionen").

To summarize "Rock Duo Magma" is perfect addition to prog-rock lovers interested in both psychedelic Krautrock and early symphonic rock. And of course fans of Hammond-driven music has to check it out too. Additionally take note, that this record sounds more like from 1969-1973 period than 1975 staff.

Keyboards (mainly organ)/drums formula of this band immediately brings to mind references to other prog-rock duo bands, like "Twogether" (the most similar band I can think of), "Sixty Nine", "Attila"(with Billy Joel), "Hardin & York", "Bondar & Wise", "Rustichelli & Bordini", "Hansson & Karlsson", "Atlantis Philharmonic", "Sound Express" and "Bootcut". But taking in consideration general style of this recording I can also recommend it to people who enjoy such rock outfits as "The Nice", "Tyburn Tall"(this vocal similarity...), "2066 & Then", "Andromeda"(German band), "Murphy Blend", "Eden Rose", "Amos Key", "Bib Set", "Klockwerk Orange" or "T.P. Smoke". - in general 4 stars from me. Check it out!

Thanks to philippe for the artist addition. and to aapatsos for the last updates

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