In Hebrew, Bay Area producer and multi-instrumentalist Will Magid's last name means “traveling storyteller” — which is a pretty apt descriptor for both the artist and his music. Weaving boisterous horns and delicate strings with electronic samples and lively percussion, Magid, who studied Ethnomusicology at UCLA, makes music that is evocative, eclectic, and more than a little worldly.
A trumpet player since the age of 10, Magid has toured and collaborated with a slew of artists and bands, such as Bonobo, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Pretty Lights, Kenny Burrell, and Solomon Burke. As an ethnomusicologist, he shares a professed passion for studying the evolution of music from various cultures, countries, and eras.
[jump] Today, SF Weekly premieres Magid's sophomore album, Alligator Spacewalk, a 9-track cornucopia of West African beats, French dance notes, Cuban rhythms, Americana blues, and soul and jazz melodies from around the world. This is jazz at its weirdest and funkiest and it doesn't disappoint.
The album's many textures and layers are the result of the three years that Magid spent writing and recording the project at San Francisco's Happy Rabbit Studios and Miles Senzaki's Grandma's Dojo in Los Angeles.
“I found myself obsessively experimenting with sonic textures in the studio,” Magid said, “recording orchestral strings, horns, vintage synthesizers, space sounds, and city sounds — mixing and warping them together in sound collages. While originally inspired by playing trumpet with Bonobo, it eventually dawned on me that this tonal palette was in my heart and soul due to a sequence of events that happened years before — a chance encounter with a rare unlabeled vinyl.”
The “rare, unlabeled vinyl” that Magid heard was a 1965 record produced in Havana that promulgated a futuristic bent on world music, inspired by European harmonies, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and early analog synthesizers.
These influences can be heard in Alligator Spacewalk, making for a unique listen that sounds like the past and future all at once. The album was recorded with the help of a slew of musicians, including Bonobo's violinist Tylana Renga and cellist Peter Jacobson, vocalist and songwriter Sharlotte Gibson, saxophonist Aaron Leibowitz, and tenor saxophonist Garrett Kobsef.
On Friday, May 13, Magid will host a release party for the album at Mezzanine, along with special guest Cut Chemist, a 10-piece orchestra, and guest vocalist Ziek McCarter. More info here.