Magik*Magik is Minna Choi, a musician who has appeared on recordings and in performance with stacks of great musicians, from Jonny Greenwood to Death Cab To Cutie. For this self-titled debut album of her own material, her voice dances with super-rich orchestration and poppy rhythms: high-grade stuff from someone who has engaged with music all across the spectrum.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 20 October 2016
Never judge a book by it's cover. Or a record by it's sleeve. From the looks of this thing I was expecting it to be some kind of fun-time Japanese girl group. Kind of Shonen Knife or something but it's nothing of the sort.
This is the debut album of Minna Choi who has previously worked with Jonny Greenwood of the Radiohead and Death Cab For Cutie. It's an album of sublime orchestration which recalls the prettier bits of Ryuichi Sakamoto with Choi's wonderful voice wandering all over the top. Her voice is indeed delicious particularly on 'Circuitry' - it has a freshness to it, a soothing full bodied prettiness that makes light of the doomy orchestration. The Postal Service type beats appear further on into the track which initially took me by surprise (I was expecting Bjork-like voice and orchestra only) but they kind of work and don't dilute the emotional pull of the track.
This electronic ticking continues into 'Sinking Home' this time just voice and electronics until sweeping string engulf the chorus. It's kind of commercially aimed like Fever Ray or Feist but Choi makes perky indie pop too on 'Life of the Party' which really starts pushing the commercial buttons but it's still well realised. So the album is not the gloom fest that was suggested by the opening few tracks. When she swaps her inner Bjork for upbeat electronic pop the album loses something substantial and this does serve to cheapen the glorious rain lashed string escapes such as the chilling opener 'Weep'.
Still plenty of impressive stuff here.
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