In addition to our interview with Minna Choi about the origins of the Magik*Magik Orchestra, we asked her to identify her favorite collaborative performances by the orchestra over its first three years. Below, check out some of Magik*Magik’s finest moments, with Minna’s thoughts on why they stand out as highlights. Remember, the orchestra’s third anniversary show is this Friday night with John Vanderslice at the Herbst Theatre.
John Vanderslice – White Wilderness â€“ Itâ€™s the first time Magik ever made a record where we were truly collaborators from the beginning. JV trusts us so much and he put absolutely no restrictions upon the group when it came time to put the record together. Thatâ€™s a great feeling. It makes you feel 100% connected to someoneâ€™s musical insides, their innate leanings, melodically, harmonically and proportionally, in a pretty intimate and incredible way.
Death Cab For Cutie â€“ Codes and Keys â€“ When I first started Magik and we joined with Tiny Telephone, a couple friends would tease me and be like, â€œwhoa, maybe one day youâ€™ll get to work with Death Cab. I saw their name on that website.â€ And you totally like laugh it off, because youâ€™re like there is no way they would ever contact me in a million years. They did a huge show with the LA Philharmonic with Beckâ€™s dad arranging full symphonic charts for the band! Why would they come to San Francisco for Magik, you know? But Chris heard about us from JV and said he really liked our mission statement, so he contacted us. I couldnâ€™t believe it. It was such an honor to work with them.
The Dodos â€“ Iâ€™m a huge Meric fan. His voice and his songwriting is so complete but yet still boyish, I adore it. The Dodos are the only band I reached out to before they reached out to us. Iâ€™m pretty hesitant when it comes to pitching Magik to a stranger. In this case, though, I was just so blown away by their performance at Treasure Island that I had to reach out. So I MySpaced them, which is a clue to how long ago this was, and Meric wrote back right away saying heâ€™d love to do a show together.
Intonarumori Concert â€“ Two years ago, we did a show at Yerba Buena where sixteen players from Magik had to play these wooden instruments called intonarumori. They were essentially wooden boxes of all different sizes that had a guitar string inside that was touching a little wheel. Each player would crank the wheel from the back using a little lever; the wheel would cause the string to resonate and the box made noise. Various composers from SF and NY were commissioned to write a piece of music using 16 of these instruments, including Mike Patton. That was the first time I worked with Mike because he asked me to transcribe his piece from Pro Tools to sheet music so that it could be played by Magik. It was really cool to hear his piece electronically and then hear it transition to these crazy sounding instruments.
Jonny Greenwood â€“ Our first show will always be special because it was the first time I got to hear Magik play in a concert hall. After the show, I was a little nervous because I wasnâ€™t sure whether Jonny was gonna say that he liked our take on his piece or not. We spoke really briefly after the show and he said he loved it and that it sounded â€œfreshâ€ compared to when he heard it last. I was so proud of the players that night; they just killed it. It was the first of many pinching-yourself moments that Iâ€™ve experienced since Magik began.