Premiere: Desert Magic, ‘Desert Sun’

Desert Magic

Desert Magic has a website, Dance Of The Planets, dedicated to new music they’re releasing on each of the planetary conjunctions of 2016. They did the same last year. So who are these guys? Some sort of musician-scientists whose creative force is guided by the waxing and waning of the moon? Possibly. Alex Wand, Steven Van Betten and Logan Hone met at CalArts and created a music collective to explore an intersection of folk, jazz and world music with their scientific interests in nature and the universe. Wand explains, “I have been fascinated by the regularities and coincidences that occur in nature and the cosmos.” Inspired by Sun Ra and Brian Eno, who traversed similar territory, as well as Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” series, their forthcoming debut album, “A Round The Sun,” features lyrics informed by science and nature. But they’re not just singing about the stars, they’re using astrophysics and patterns in the solar system to actually compose the music.

“In one of our songs, ‘Venus Takes Jupiter,’ we map the orbital speeds of both planets to create a cosmic polyrhythm.” Wand says. “In another piece, ‘Saturn Return,’ we play guitar to the drone of Saturn’s radio emissions shifted down to the range of human hearing. We do this as a way to write songs that go beyond our personal narratives and hopefully bring about a sense of wonder for our planet, our solar system, and beyond.” Wand says first single “Desert Sun” is about growing up in the rural Mojave desert and “an appreciation of our time on earth, and the passing thereof.” The song offers a good introduction to their world, the use of singing in the round as a jumping off point before the tune kicks into gear. As Wand explains, “It begins with an exposition of the round and then transforms into something unexpected, in this case, a rhythmic soundscape of synths, accordions, drums, and guitars.”

||| Stream: “Desert Sun”