Unfiltered soul: The music of Magenta Sunshine

Unfiltered soul: The music of Magenta Sunshine

Originally published at MountainX.com

“Half a Heart,” the lead track to the self titled debut EP from local indie-soul outfit Magenta Sunshine, might have a sad-sounding name, but it plays like a tropical beach party. Shakers, a swaying melody and the cheerful interjection of horns adds to the sandy, sunny, breezy vibe. “I need a woman who won’t filter my soul, who believes we can speak with the trees, has energy like swimming pools,” sings vocalist/guitarist David Einzig.

The band is the project of New Orleans transplant Einzig (also of Hopetoun) and L.A. transplants Lenny Pettinelli (Vibration of Versatility). Their collaboration is seamless, moving effortlessly between genres and moods and maintaining that same spacious, light-infused aesthetic. “Infinity,” slower but more dreamy that drowsy, gives the composition a front seat and treats Einzig’s vocal more like an additional instrument. Hints of ’60s psychedelia and crystalline new age electronica blend with earthy sounds — a flute, a flutter of bells — to magical effect.

“Flowing Home,” led by plucky strings and hand claps, leans toward upbeat folk. The drum comes in with plenty of kick and snap; it’s a song constructed for dancers, pairing fast beats with elongated stretches of melody. “Treat today as if it’s not gonna be here tomorrow,” Einzig sings as a flood of instruments swell in orchestrated waves. That full sound evokes a kind of sonic picnic — the bounty spread out in happy disarray — until the song dissolves into a simple and short-lived a cappella choir.

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Photo from Magenta Sunshine’s Facebook page

A few solemnly plucked notes introduce “Tapestry Eyes,” but it’s Einzig’s voice that quickly establishes this is a deeply soulful offering. “Speak like a scientist, something to say, heart like an angel, soul like a rebel,” he sings, almost unaccompanied, before the full melody comes in. And that, too, is another twist. A strong downbeat, hits of brass, the ringing voice of the keys: The song spirals and curls about itself, at times R&B, at times almost hip-hop. The journey is full of surprises but it’s a trip worth taking, and a stand-out on the EP. That Einzig possesses a silky falsetto is certainly not the least of this track’s assets.

The album wraps with “Louisiana Telepathy,” a pooling of influences and ideas stitched together my Middle Eastern-sounding strings. Like the rest of this collection, the track is organic and experimental, imbued with free spirit and an impetus toward self-expression over easily digestible pop. That impulse pays off, and the five songs — if they’re any indication of what’s to come from this relatively-new-to-Asheville band — portend great things.

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