Allow me to introduce you to the best kept secret in the Bay Area: Magik*Magik aka Minna Choi. Known as the founder of San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra, Minna Choi has been one of the West Coast’s most prolific artists for the last decade, forming her very own orchestra to marry her two loves: orchestral music and pop songs. After years of her orchestra playing alongside artists like Death Cab For Cutie, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, John Vanderslice, The Dodos, and more, Choi finally decided it was time to sit down and record some of her own music. The resulting self-titled album – which was written, orchestrated, conducted and sung by Minna Choi and produced by Nathan Johnson – will be released on Chris Walla’s label Trans- on October 14th, 2016.
A first peek at the album, a languid duet with How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell called “Laugh a Lot,” was premiered a couple weeks ago, with Stereogum saying: “Supple and somber, the song resembles a Lana Del Rey ballad.” A new song from the album, a churning, celebratory track entitled “Circuitry,” has premiered today courtesy of Noisey; click HERE to listen to it.
Magik*Magik will also be playing select shows this fall in support of her debut album; dates are listed below.
Magik*Magik Orchestra began swiftly after Choi – who had spent years writing and playing in an indie rock band in New York City – relocated to San Francisco to attend music conservatory. Upon realizing that the Bay Area had no groups dedicated to collaborating with artists beyond the classical sphere, she brought the idea of pairing orchestration and pop music together to the school. The concept was shot down by the powers that be which felt there was no demand in the outside world for such a group. Choi knew differently, however, and – not at all dissuaded by the response – decided if the conservatory didn’t want to start an orchestra like Magik*Magik, she’d start it herself. And so she did.
Her tenacity paid off and The Magik*Magik Orchestra became San Francisco’s go-to group of bands seeking collaboration. To date, Choi has written arrangements for over 100 artists of all shapes and sizes, and her orchestra have been featured on more than 800 songs. Her list of collaborators includes: Death Cab For Cutie, Pop-Up Magazine, John Vanderslice, Third Eye Blind (with whom the orchestra played on the main stage at this year’s Outside Lands), How To Dress Well, Christina Vantzou, Weezer, and many more.
Yet all the while, Minna was writing songs of her own…
The culmination of those songs comes in the form of her incredible self-titled debut, a love letter to all the pop songs that have inspired Minna along the way while showing off what she does best: orchestrate. Part synth-pop dancerpiece, part sweeping orchestral heartstring-tugger, Magik*Magik’s debut album is nothing short of breathtakingly awesome. With guest appearances from How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell and Bon Iver’s string maestro, yMusic’s Rob Moose, Magik*Magik has created a record that is singular in its graceful merging of electronics and organic instrumentation, all anchored by Minna Choi’s plaintive, luminous voice. It is a stand-out debut from a brilliant talent, and one that we are so very excited for you to hear.