Young Magic premiered their new track called “Sleep Now” today; the song is the latest release from the New York duo’s forthcoming new album Still Life and was inspired by the rural countryside of singer Melati Malay’s home country of Indonesia. Young Magic will be on tour with Yeasayer this May-June. Full dates below.
“This song came about while recording on the island of Lembongan, Indonesia. Each morning I would ride a beat-up moped up and over the cliffs, getting lost down dirt roads through tiny villages of seaweed farmers. It’s another side of Indonesia, still largely untouched by the feverish development of other places like Jakarta, where I grew up. I was hoping to capture the warmth and color of this island, but also the complexities that inevitably seem to manifest when development meets paradise.” – Melati Malay
The beginnings of Young Magic’s new album, Still Life, coincided with singer Melati Malay revisiting her own, in her birthplace of Indonesia. Having lost her father the previous year, she returned to the island of Java to reconnect with her family, dig up stories, and begin work on a new collection of music.
“My father had been somewhat of a mystery to me,” Melati says. “How did a boy from the Midwest end up in the jungles of Borneo during the 60s, trading his watch and a carton of cigarettes for the gravestones of the indigenous headhunters?”
“I’ve always felt torn, like some kind of hybrid existing between two worlds,” Melati says. “Born to a Catholic father and a Muslim mother, growing up bilingual, attending an international school in Jakarta where all my friends were from different countries…in a city of 30 million people where the clash between poverty and affluence is extreme.”
Still Life is a deeply personal and idiosyncratic record, somewhere close to the enchanted electronic pop realms occupied by Björk and Broadcast, yet unique to Young Magic. Found sounds and textures feature prominently across Still Life, including the Javanese gamelan, blossoming into ecstatic bursts during the climax of “Lucien.” Melati grounds the textured sonic world with arrows direct to the heart, like the arresting “How Wonderful” where the singer overflows with regret for “all those things I never said.” This is as deeply personal as the group has ever been.
“In a way, Still Life became a kind of antithesis to a world where people tell you who to pray to, what to buy into, and who your enemies should be. It’s my reaction. Still Life is my way to celebrate music from all corners…my home without borders.”
Upon returning to New York, her home of 10 years, Melati put together a group of musicians and began reimagining these new musical works inspired by her personal metamorphosis. She enlisted NYC-based cellist and composer Kelsey Lu McJunkins, Detroit producer Erin Rioux, Bolivian percussionist Daniel Alejandro Siles Mendoza, and Australian producer/songwriter Isaac Emmanuel, her longtime collaborator.
Young Magic with Yeasayer
5/12 Port City Music Hall – Portland, ME
5/13 Paradise Rock Club -Boston, MA
5/14 Irving Plaza – New York, NY
5/16 9:30 Club -Washington, DC
5/17 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
5/19 The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
5/21 Exit / In – Nashville, TN
5/22 Majestic Theatre – Detroit, MI
5/23 Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
5/24 First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 Imperial – Vancouver, BC
5/29 Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR
5/31 The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
6/01 The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
6/02 The Observatory North Park – San Diego, CA
6/03 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA