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Magic City by Daniele Luppi (Review)

posted Oct 24, 2012, 11:14 PM by Kaya Savas

Magic City is an original series on Starz, which has been trying to keep up with networks like HBO and Showtime when it comes to original programming. The show takes place in Miami shortly after the Cuban Revolution. It’s about a hotel owner trying to keep his establishment and life afloat while having to deal with the mob and other life issues during a time of change in the 1950’s. Composer Daniele Luppi does an absolutely amazing job of capturing the time, spirit and sound of the era. The score is ultra suave with subtle emotional nuances. This builds a rich atmosphere of character and setting while painting a sonic landscape that I really want to drift away in.

The opening theme sets the tone for the whole score. Close your eyes and you will see smokey rooms with sharply dressed people, posh nightclubs and restaurants. It gives you a lounge type feel. The show's opening sequence centers on a nude woman swimming underwater, which adds a hint of sensuality and exoticness. The rest of the score falls in line with what the opening establishes. Luppi always keeps in mind that the title of the show is “Magic” City. The music does have a magical undertow to it all. Water is another theme of the score and the show. Almost all the tracks reference water in some way and the music definitely has a liquid flow to it. Luppi structures the album in 3 parts by using the same track titles to create thematic flow. It’s all wonderfully executed and seductively presented. The music grabs you and pulls you into this world of magic and intrigue all the while hinting that there is always something under the surface that you may not see but know is there.

Magic City is a wonderful sonic world that every listener should take a trip to. Luppi does a fantastic job of building a soundscape that transports us to a time and place while interjecting character and structuring a story through it. The album is wonderfully assembled for the listener to be able to have a very structured listening experience with connecting motifs over a 3 part presentation. While Magic City isn’t reeling in the attention as some of HBO’s or Showtime’s series, it shouldn’t be ignored. I guarantee that after that first track that you’re going to want to stay in that suavely intriguing world. So go ahead and take a listen and prepare to lose yourself in Magic City.