Saturnalia was an English folk-psych band that released the album Magical Love on Matrix in 1973.

Members: Rod Roach (guitar, backing vocals), Adrian Hawkins (vocals), Tom Crompton (drums), Richard Houghton (bass, keyboards), Aletta Lohmeyer (vocals)


Saturnalia formed in London in 1972 when two ex-members of hard-rockers Horse, singer Adrian Hawkins and guitarist Rod Roach, teamed with bassist Richard Houghton and drummer Tom Crompton. Singer Aletta Lohmeyer completed the lineup, fresh off the Dutch touring version of the musical Hair.

Hawkins and Roach had been a team since 1968 when they formed their prior band, which made the 1970 album Horse on RCA Victor and prepared a second before the group fell apart. They salvaged two unreleased tracks from that abandoned project (“Winchester Town” and “She Brings Peace”) for Saturnalia, named after an ancient Roman holiday festival in honor of Saturn, the god of wealth, agriculture, and liberation.

Saturnalia impressed manager and visual artist Mark Hanau, who oversaw the early career of Curved Air. He linked Saturnalia with Keith Relf, the former Yardbirds and Renaissance frontman who recently branched into production (IF, Medicine Head). Sessions took place during September and October 1972.

Magical Love

Saturnalia released Magical Love in February 1973 on self-press Matrix Records. The album contains nine originals, including six by the team of Roach and Hawkins: “And I Have Loved You,” “Traitor,” “Princess and the Peasant Boy,” “Step Out of Line,” and the two Horse leftovers. Aletta contributed “Dreaming” and the title track; she co-wrote “Soul Song” with a character named Pilikian.

Magical Love is noted as one of the world’s first 3-D picture discs, housed in a clear sleeve. One side features the five members standing nude and tinted at various clock positions. The flipside sports a 12-leaf infographic, each with a mask representing different character traits. Each side has a detachable holograph at the center.

Hanau conceived the picture disc, having also used this gimmick with his prior client, Curved Air, on their 1970 debut Air Conditioning.

The original album (cat# TRIX 1SP) comes with a 20-page booklet with member backstories, photos, and a facial centerfold of Aletta in exotic makeup. A swirling, three-tone illustration of the singer (aqua-teal-lime) graces the booklet’s cover.

Alternate copies come with a different book that contains biographical info and 16 pages of text titled “The Temple of Magical Love,” all written in cursive. This booklet sports an alternate scheme (red-blue-yellow) of the same cover illustration. A third version of the album sports a proper cover that replicates the images on the picture disc.

Thematically, the album and its accompanying text were inspired The Magic Circle of the Soul, a 1969 book by Dutch hippie cosmologist Tammo De Jongh, who did the artwork on In the Wake of Poseidon, the 1970 sophomore release by King Crimson. The De Jongh association caused some archivists to mistake Magical Love for a 1969 release.


Many copies of the original picture disc had tracking issues. Consequently, the music on Magical Love wasn’t properly appreciated until the album first appeared on CD in 1992, courtesy of German archivists World Wide Records, which also excavated titles by High Tide, T2, Bachdenkel, String Driven Thing, and Luv Machine.

In 2003, the album was reissued on CD and LP by Italian post-psych specialists Arkama. In 2019, the album reappeared in both formats on Italy’s Black Widow Records.

“Dreaming” appears on the 2006 Hobby-Horse comp “Bushes & Briars” The Sound of an English Autumn with cuts by Basil Kirchin, Black Sabbath, Caravan, Shelagh McDonald, and Vashti Bunyan.


  • Magical Love (1973)


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