MAGENT is the world/dance music alias of Cape Town jazz guitarist John Bartmann, whose additional work as a composer and producer has been licensed to labels in France (Wagram Music) and Germany (DNA Musik), and whose theatre music productions have received financial backing from the UK Arts Council.
Lying at the intersection of West African guitar music, South African deep house, gqom and textured electronica, MAGENT’s clearest current influences include Orchestra Baobab, Black Coffee and Lapalux, with vintage recordings of African group singing and traditional instrumentation offering melodic and rhythmic colour to a nuanced dance beat. Funk motifs are particularly strong in the guitar and high-end rhythm, with polyrhythms volunteering their complexities to a solid dance groove.
A typical MAGENT set includes performance of original tracks on live APC40, electric guitar, synth, mbira and Octapad drumming in combination with the staple hardware and software effect manipulation of a normal DJ set. Spontaneity and live looping create an unmistakable live energy. While influenced by both his township volunteer work and seven years of experiences abroad, this native South African musician offers a rare perspective on both emerging African and electronic music, and undeniably lies on the pulse of some of the globe’s most in-demand music styles.
On the release of his upcoming EP ‘Camouflage’ (2017), MAGENT says, “Time spent in the forests of Cape Town is something everyone deserves. I hope to communicate that with this nature-inspired collection.”