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Meet Laurent Goldstein, the man who's just made a film about Magma

a portrait of Laurent Goldstein

“I remember the moment I first heard Magma’s music like it was yesterday,” says Citrus Pie Media’s Laurent Goldstein. “I saw Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh in the window of my local record store and asked to listen to it. At the time, I was into Genesis, Pink Floyd, Van der Graaf Generator, Caravan… but as soon as the music started… I had never heard anything like it. It really impressed the hell out of me, and two weeks later, I went to see them in concert.”

Since that day in 1973, Goldstein has attended more than 200 Magma shows and even spent a year as Christian Vander’s housemate in the 80s. But it’s taken the former record shop owner more than 40 years to translate his passion for Zeuhl into film.

“I became addicted to cinema when I was a teenager and went to film school in Paris in the early 70s,” reveals the Frenchman, who now lives in Canada. “It was only in my mid-50s that I changed career path, and decided to run a video production and marketing company. I had become very good friends with Christian Vander over the years, so I decided we should make a film because it was well overdue.”

To Life, Death And Beyond – The Music Of Magma is Goldstein’s first music documentary. It pieces together the story of Magma with live footage and interviews with members past and present, including the Vanders themselves. Like Coralie Van Rietschoten’s recent Magma travelogue, Nihao Hamtaï, it’s also authorised by the band.

“I had full support from Christian and Stella,” he says. “The film begins with Christian’s childhood and ends with the impact that Magma has had on people all over the world. I don’t know of any other French band that’s still touring in North America today, and they’re constantly renewing their fan base. If you look in the States and Canada, a lot of the people in the audience are in their 20s. That’s amazing.”

Goldstein hopes To Life, Death And Beyond… will be the first of many prog films. “It would be amazing to make a documentary about Van der Graaf Generator as well,” he says. “I think Peter Hammill is another musical genius.”

For more info about Laurent Goldstein’s film, visit www.themusicofmagma.com.

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Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.