Balkan Bump, the electronic music project from trumpet player, producer and ethnomusicologist Will Magid, is set to release his debut album Osmanity on October 23, 2020. The impressive fourteen track set features a star-studded global cast of collaborators including French festival-mainstay CloZee, Palestinian Alicia Keys-collaborator Ali Paris, global beats purveyors Beats Antique, and chill beatsmiths from Belgium (Poldoore) and France (The Geek x Vrv).
Bay Area based Balkan Bump burst onto the scene and made a name for himself in a few short years, when he debuted his single “Aymo,” alongside superstar collaborators Gramatik and Talib Kweli. Gramatik quickly championed the new project; unveiling Balkan Bump’s live show on his Re:Coil Tour and releasing Balkan Bump’s debut EP on his Lowtemp label imprint in 2018. Balkan Bump then blossomed to international audiences, performing at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lightning In A Bottle and Electric Forest. Magid’s Balkan Bump project immediately stood out for his fusion of live instruments, world influences and lush electronic production. His releases flaunt experience as an instrumentalist and arranger, fusing energetic Balkan brass with heavy electronic production and hip-hop influences.
The story behind the album’s name is a reference to Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire combined with the word insanity. Will explains, “Osmanity combines music from all over the former Ottoman Empire with EDM, Hip Hop, and Jazz. Between the 14th and 20th centuries, the Ottoman Empire stretched from Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. As trade routes brought spices and products between these regions, it also led to the cross-pollination of music traditions. Making the record was a bit of a history lesson in Arabic, Turkish, Jewish, Roma, Slavic, and North African Music. The music is inspired by shared histories, rhythms, and melodies.”
The diverse sounds on the record are showcased throughout the album, including the single “Dzambo Funk,” a collaboration with Belgium-based producer Poldoore. The tune is inspired and named after the Macedonian Trumpeter Dzambo Agusevi, who leads an amazing Brass Band, and is considered the greatest living trumpeter by Balkan Bump.
Another example is “The Devil Dance” featuring the globetrotting Beats Antique that explores the duality between heaven and hell. It’s got an upbeat fun groove and then quickly dissolves into a dark, heavy beat conjuring up emotions of dancing with the devil in the pale moon light. The title track “Osmanity” was composed with Gregory Masaki Jenkins and weaves between a very common Turkish Rhythm and a Hip Hop Beat. The outro of the song ties the track together, but delivers a bit of the unexpected. The album concludes with “Tryptonic,” which encompasses the sounds from across the record and closes on a spiritual plane. These are just a few standouts that have led to such a high demand in Balkan Bump’s music and performances.
Although COVID-19 has halted Balkan Bump’s national touring plans for now, which included confirmations at Shambhala, Sonic Bloom, Summer Meltdown, Same Same But Different, Gem & Jam, and more, he has still managed to pull off impressive livestreams. Recent livestreams include a set for Virtual Burning Man with Sofi Tukker, as well as his own weekly Global Beats Sundays livestream featuring globetrotting DJs including Nickodemus (of Bob Marley & Nina Simone Remix fame), and KCRW’s Jeremy Sole. It’s no wonder that Stereofox has stated, “Not only has [Balkan Bump] joined some of the greats like Pretty Lights and Beats Antique on stage, but has also crafted a mission in studying musical evolution. Holding a degree in Ethnomusicology, he leverages his knowledge by intertwining unique sounds together in his own music.”