Audion #42

May 2000 A4 44 pages

- A History Of
- Garage, Islington, 12/9/98
, July 1999
- Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 7/2/00
: Ame Son, Anekdoten, Davis Redford Triad, Djam Karet, The Electric Family, Happy The Man, La! Neu?, etc.


photocopy reprint (last 5 copies)



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Example article

"part 2 - Magma family & offshoots"

Continuing our exploration of the "Zeuhl" phenomena, stepping on beyond the Magma story told in Audion #41, in this article I will attempt to unravel the impossible to picture tangled family tree of Magma. A musically and creatively incestuous scene, and extremely influential too, the Magma family of bands and soloists, entwines considerably with numerous other Paris bands, notably that of Heldon (see previous Audion articles), and because of such a diverse array of talents, Magma musicians have worked in almost every imaginable musical field.

The Magma family

As documented on album releases (and the wealth of more recently released concert CD's), the various incarnations of Magma in the 1970's involved a core of some 30 plus musicians, and those are what I'll concentrate on here. I'll document the various histories, and attempt to explore in more depth the influential Zeuhl offshoots from the Magma band. But, first, let's have a run-down on who's who...

Magma musicians

Jean-Pol Asseline (keyboards)

First known Magma appearance: MAGMA "HHAÏ" LIVE, 1975

Apart from some obscure pop music session work, and featuring as a guest on Jean Pierre Alarcen's eponymous LP (1978), little is known of Jean-Pol's other activities in music. His role in Magma was largely an emulation of François Cahen's style.

Dominique Bertram (bass)

First appeared with Magma as "Ürgon" (I believe) on ATTAHK, 1977

The bassist in Yochk'o Seffer's "Neffesh Music" he also played in a later incarnation of ZAO, and made a solo album reputedly in the modern American jazz fusion vein, with a little Magma mixed in. His brother Gérard was a founder of the notorious Moving Gelatine Plates. There’s also a Dominique Beltram (same person?) who plays bass on Jean-Philippe Goude's DRONES album.

Albums: CHINESE PARADISE (String 1983)

Gérard Bikialo (pianos, organ)

First known Magma appearance: INÉDITS, 1973 archive tape

unknown elsewhere!

Klaus Blasquiz (vocals, percussion)

First known Magma appearance: MAGMA, 1970

A unique and talented singer, and an accomplished artist. Klaus started his career in progressive music with the pre-Heldon band Blues Convention (in which he sang in English). As far as I know, no recordings exist of that historic band, although some of those blues roots get in on the first Magma album. Since first leaving Magma in 1977 Klaus became much sought after with numerous other projects during the prolific late-70's/early-80's era, adding his growling processed vocals are particularly effective on Bernard Szajner's debut as "Zed". He also sang with the Zeuhl inspired Troll, has featured in numerous Magma reformation concerts, and more recently was a member of Bernard Paganotti's "Paga" group.

Guest appearances: Heldon STAND BY (Egg 1978), Zed VISIONS OF DUNE (IRC 1979), François Bréant VOYEUR EXTRA-LUCIDE (Egg 1979), Jean-Philippe Goude DRONES (Polydor Ramses 1979), Bernard Szajner SOME DEATHS TAKE FOREVER (Pathé/IRC 1980), Alan Stivell TERRE DES VIVANTS (Dreyfus 1981), Michel Altmayer TROLL VOL. 2 (Musea 1988), etc.

François Cahen (pianos)

First known Magma appearance: MAGMA, 1970

A member of Magma in their early days, and a big influence on the Zeuhl sound. For a full history see the ZAO featurette towards the end of this article.

Guest appearances: Triangle TRIANGLE (Pathé EMI 1972), Cos BABEL (IBC 1979).

Alain Charlery (trumpet, percussion)

First known Magma appearance: MAGMA, 1970

Unknown elsewhere!

Jean-Luc Chevalier (guitar, bass)

First appeared as "Gorgo" on ATTAHK, 1977

A self-taught guitarist, from Nantes, who played with the prog/psych band Zig-Zag circa 1970-72 (releasing two obscure singles). He later became a prolific name on the Paris and international jazz scene. Since departing Magma he moved back to jazz-fusions, working with the likes of Pascal Vandenbulcke (ex-Dün) and other ex-Magma associates. His own music is distinctly French, with an edge on both power and intricate noodling, and nods to John McLaughlin or Larry Coryell, not so much of interest to Zeuhl aficionados.

Albums: JEAN-LUC CHEVALIER (Cryonic 1985), SAHARIENNE (Cryonic 198?), UN PIED DANS LE VIE (?? 1986), TIBET (Cryonic 1987), ZANTIC LE JAZZMAN (Musea 1988), etc.

Liza Deluxe (vocals)

First appeared as "Sïhnn" on ATTAHK, 1977

A much-travelled, all-purpose backing vocalist, in all genres.

She guests on: Atoll TERTIO (Ariola 1977), François Bréant VOYEUR EXTRA-LUCIDE (Egg 1979), etc.

Claude Engel (guitars, flute, vocals),

First known Magma appearance: MAGMA, 1970

Claude's career goes back to 1968 with the psychedelic blues band Omega Plus, reputedly in the vein of Cream. The finest release I've heard is from the Bernard Lubat fronted LIVE IN MONTREUX '72 which is largely Claude Engel's show,
whipping-it-out Larry Coryell fashion, in a jazz fusion close to Santana. Untypically, Engel's track on PUISSANCE 13+2 is very much in that multi-acoustic guitar vein explored by many an ECM artist. After leaving Magma, Claude Engel first featured on
(ex-Zoo lead singer) Daydé's debut album, did some pop-rock material himself, and then became an important guitarist on the jazz-rock scene.

Albums: ENGEL STORY (CBS 1973), FANTASMAGORY (CBS 1976), GUITARISME (Apache 1983), also: Lubat, Louiss, Engel Group LIVE IN MONTREUX '72 (Pierre Cardin 1972), etc.

Featured on: PUISSANCE 13+2 (Theleme 1971)

Featured musician or guest: Omega Plus HOW TO KISS THE SKY (Pitch 1969), Daydé J'AIME (Riviera 1971), Alan Stivell TERRE DES VIVANTS (Dreyfus 1981)

Gabriel Federow (guitar)

First known Magma appearance: MAGMA "HHAÏ" LIVE, 1975

Unknown elsewhere!

Marc Fosset (guitar)

First known Magma appearance: INÉDITS, 1973 archive tape

Only briefly with Magma, he is also known to have worked solo, with Stephane Grapelli, and as half of the duo Caratini/Fosset.

Albums: LA RÉCRÉ (America 1978), CROONER (? 1990)\

Jean-Pierre Fouquey (electric piano, keys)

First known Magma appearance: RETROSPEKTÏW III, 1980

Also actively involved as a member of Forgas (1977 and
1985-92), a Canterbury inspired band with eccentric edges and a little Zeuhl influence, characterised by Jean-Pierre's frenetic keyboard style. He's also worked solo (reputedly easy listening jazz-rock), and has worked in almost every modern musical genre.

Solo albums: TACTICS (CY 1984), RAILROAD (Cryonic 1985)

Notable guest appearance: Patrick Gauthier BÉBÉ GODZILLA (CY 1982).

René Garber (bass clarinet, vocals)

First known Magma appearance: on INÉDITS, 1972 archive tape

Although involved in the pre-historic era of Magma, René's debut onto the scene was with Contrepoint playing soprano sax. Contrepoint would seem to have been of that genre influenced by the likes of Soft Machine, Nucleus, Canterbury/British jazz-fusion, punchy and richly arranged.

Contrepoint featured on: PUISSANCE 13+2 (Theleme 1971)

Patrick Gauthier (piano, synthesizer)

First known Magma appearance: ÜDÜ WÜDÜ , 1976

Patrick started on the Paris underground scene, with the
pre-Heldon band Schizo, and was also featured as a member or guest on six (out of seven) Heldon albums. He was one of the musicians that pushed forth the electronic side of the Magma sound. During the Paris scene boom in the late-70's Patrick was quite prolific as a guest, and also played live extensively with Didier Malherbe, Eric Serra, and the likes. As such, his solo work develops a fusion sitting between both Magma and Heldon, adding a lot more jazz-fusion on his second LA MORSE, which is much more a hybrid of Magma, Offering, jazz and blues styles. More recently, he has again become sought after as a session musician, notably on Eric Serra's "Subway" soundtrack, and with pop acts like: George Acogni, Jacques Higelin, and numerous others.

Solo albums: BÉBÉ GODZILLA (CY 1982), SUR LES FLOTS VERTICAUX (Seventh 1992), LA MORSE (Seventh 1996)

Guest appearances: Didier Lockwood JAZZ-ROCK, aka "LOCKWOODS" (Music Zag 1977), Benoît Widemann STRESS! (Ballon Noir 1977), Alain Renaud AR & CLONES (Tabala/Carrere 1978), Jean-Philippe Goude DRONES (Polydor Ramses 1979), Georges Grünblatt K-PRISS (Polydor Ramses 1980), Richard Pinhas L'ETHIQUE (Polydor Ramses/Pulse 1982) and DWW (Cuneiform/Spalax 1983-1991), Bernard Paganotti PAGA (Cream 1985), Yvonne et Alain Guillard PAZAPA (Cerise 1989), Pinhas & Livengood CYBORG SALLY (Tangram/AMP 1994), Michel Ettori HIGHER LIFE (Musea 1995), etc.

Brian Godding (guitar)

First known Magma appearance: KÖHNTARKÖSZ, 1974

British guitarist, founder of The Blossom Toes, B.B. Blunder, etc. Since his brief stint with Magma he moved to fusion realms with his band Mirage, and is much-touted as a guitar experimentalist.


Article by Alan Freeman

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