Introducing: Magit Cacoon, The Israeli Artist Who Connects Cultures And Blurs Boundaries
Magit Cacoon sounds like she’s buzzing. She chats at breakneck speed from her Tel Aviv apartment in a thick Israeli accent, surprisingly chipper for a DJ in lockdown. But as it turns out, last night she performed to millions of people on national television and is still riding high.
It was Israel’s 72nd birthday, and Cacoon was invited to play live alongside five local acts and artists on the second biggest channel in the country. “Guy Gerber, Guy Mantzur and Kamila, Jenia Tarsol, Red Axes, Vini Vici,” Cacoon says. “Having five DJs playing techno on TV on Israeli Independence is a big big thing. Techno’s almost mainstream in Israel now.”
This booking says a lot about Cacoon’s positioning in electronic music. Since she began collecting records in 2005, she’s released tracks on Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels, on Solomun’s Diynamic label and launched her own imprint, Girl Scout. Her productions combine the industrial sound of Berlin with spacey house, and her own eerie, hypnotic vocals layered on top. She’ll collaborate with whoever takes her fancy, regardless of genre, and the approach has won her a fanbase so extensive it includes some of the world’s biggest artists.
Listen to Magit Cacoon’s track Space IL on DGTL’s latest release.
At the heart of Cacoon’s music, though, is a voracity for connection and collaboration; something she’s explored ever since she started DJing in 2006. She moved to Tel Aviv from Rishon LeTsiyon when she was 19 and started playing way before Tel Aviv’s techno parties were televised. “There was an organisation called The Third Empire, and they did techno parties in the desert,” Cacoon says. “I played there and at small clubs in the city. We had some parties, but not like today.”
When Cacoon got her first overseas gig in Dortmund she took the opportunity to visit Berlin and, like many DJs before her, was a total goner. “I stayed there 10 years,” Cacoon says. “I grew up there, from a child.”
Cacoon’s urge for connection was magnified in Berlin. When she moved in 2008 she secured a residency with Sweat Lodge Radio, and soon started playing their parties at clubs around the city. Inspired by her new community, Cacoon launched Girl Scout in 2011 as a platform to release her own melodic techno as well as tracks from her ever-growing network of friends — P.Toile, Nunu, &ME, Tigerskin and dozens more.
“I try to connect cultures and combine worlds,” Cacoon says. “That’s what I love and I’ve done it throughout my whole career. You can already see it in my first track, “VOYAGE 34.’” The 2011 track was inspired by Cacoon’s memories of listening to acid rock as a teenager. Even in releases as early as this, Cacoon clearly had no desire to stick to one genre, layering a deep house tune with vocals from UK progressive rock artist Steven Wilson.
Cacoon’s productions caught the attention of Damian Lazarus in 2015, who snapped up her Subterranean Fiction EP, releasing it on his Crosstown Rebels imprint. That’s when things went truly batshit. Cacoon started jetting to Ibiza, Copenhagen, Rome, Tel Aviv, and back again.
“2015 was a very good year for me,” Cacoon says. “I got support from Solomun and Damian Lazarus and they both gave me the stage and showed me to the world. In 2015 I played Miami Music Week and one of the journalists from Electronic Groove put me as number one DJ out of the whole festival. I couldn’t believe it. It’s so surprising when stuff like this happens to you.”
The production that means the most to Cacoon is “Perfect Life,” a track she spent over a year working on and still considers one of her biggest musical accomplishments. “I worked on it for a really long time. The vocals come from Steven Wilson. I love his music, I’m so amazed by his guitar and the way it combines with the beat.” She released the track on Katermukke in 2018 and a few months later was moved to tears when, dancing along to Dixon in Ibiza, he dropped the track mid-set.
Cacoon managed to tear herself away from Berlin in 2017. The pull of home became too strong and she found Tel Aviv nightlife endlessly inspiring. She’s now part of Solomun’s Diynamic family and continues to release on Crosstown Rebels. Israel’s full-on airport security hasn’t stopped her flying all over the world, but coronavirus has. Now she’s at home, and she’s not pretending to enjoy it.
“Honestly, trying to work, trying to produce music with all these hours at home, it’s difficult to get inspiration. Of course I’ve forced myself to work on some stuff but it’s a sad time for everyone. We don’t know the future, we don’t know when we can have fun. This fucking corona time is stressful. But when this offer came to perform on TV in this dark time it meant a lot. It really cheered me up. I feel full of energy and ideas again, it was so cool. It was the best feeling ever.”
Despite feeling low on inspiration, Cacoon still has big things in the pipeline. She recently released an enchanting track called “Space IL” on DGTL and is about to launch a second label, Mago Music. But she’s waiting until we’re out of this corona time to drop the first release which, unsurprisingly, connects worlds and unites cultures.
“The first release I recorded with an Arabic singer, she’s one of the biggest singers in Israel right now,” Cacoon says. “Her name is Nasrin Kadri. I wrote the lyrics in Hebrew and she helped me translate into Arabic. I invited her to my studio and we’ve created a really amazing track. She’s not in our scene — she makes poppy, Mizrahi music — and she has the voice of an angel.”
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that an artist so in love with unity is from one of the most divisive countries in the world. But the power in Cacoon’s music comes from her ability to transcend boundaries, both in the musical realm and outside it. And there’s no region that needs artists like Magit Cacoon more than the Middle East.
Alice Austin is a freelance journalist currently living in Australia. Find her on Twitter.