Magma, the Paris-based creation of drummer Christian Vander, trafficked in a bizarre mix of progressive rock and sci-fi mythology that stretched conceptual limits in the '70s. Taking as inspiration a revelation Vander had of humanity's bleak spiritual and ecological future, the group conceived a mythic narrative surrounding a future conflict between descendents of Earth refugees on the planet Kobaia and their foes, newly arrived Earth colonists (Vander, incredibly, wrote all Magma's lyrics in his self-invented Kobaian language). The group released a series of challenging works that referenced everything from Coltrane's jazz modes to the stubbornly chromatic tonalities of Stravinsky -- a style Vander dubbed "zuehl" (Kobaian for "celestial"). The group had disbanded by the early '80s, but Vander revived Magma in the late '90s to record and tour.
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