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Maria Chiara Argirò x Forest City

Maria Chiara Argirò (pronounced ma-REE-ah key-AH-rah r-gee-ROW) marks herself as an exciting new name in electronic, jazz-fusion. After quietly weaving her way around the UK jazz, classical and electronic worlds, the trained pianist (since the age of nine) has cemented herself as a key player in the capital’s multi-national jazz scene. Maria has released a few solo and collaborative records (Flow was The Guardian’s jazz album of the month and nominated as album of the year in the Jazz Revelations Awards), but her album, Forest City feels like the turning of a page as she liberates herself from the structures of jazz.

In Forest City, Maria finds a glistening thread between these movements: where jazz meets Kelly Lee Owens, Jon Hopkins and Radiohead. It’s a concept record, about the “duality of nature and city”, where organic sounds and textures seem to flow above the urban sprawl.

Maria had finished writing the album before the first lockdown but the enforced isolation helped to give the music a sense of urgency, a longing to be immersed in the natural world and the buzz of the city at the same time. The songs always start as something she can play acoustically, that would work without the bells and whistles, and then she layers the atmosphere around them. 

Though the album has dark undertones, it’s not all doom and gloom: in her earthy metropolis, a certain optimism glows through. “It’s about being conscious of the world we live in and how careful we need to be,” Maria explains. “At the end of the day, there is hope”.

Read Her Track By Track Guide via Talkhouse

Read Her Profie via CLASH

Lionel Boy x UP AT 4
"Indie pop, soul, and electronics all intermingle.... one that recalls Mac DeMarco in its hallucinogenic warmth while retaining a lingering soulful edge" - CLASH

Lionel Boy releases the first in a two-part EP series with "UP AT 4" which is out now via Innovative Leisure. The Hawaiian-born, Long Beach-based songwriter will release his second EP 'DOWN AT 8' on June 17th. 

Listen to "UP AT 4" here: https://smarturl.it/lb_upat4

Lionel Boy’s sound mixes spacey synthesizers, impromptu breakbeats & bedroom pop. The airy, jazz-cracked, electronic pop of Lionel Boy belies a wistful romanticism, a careful observational streak, and a meditative fixation on life and death. Lionel Boy is soulful and easy-going, both introspective and laissez faire, extremely mellow but never soft-headed. 

'UP AT 4' and 'DOWN AT 8' are a collection of songs that started off as demos in Lionel Boy's living room. Following the release of his debut album, Lionel Boy wanted to continue exploring producing and collaborating with friends. 

"I felt like I spent all and none of 2021 working on these songs. Producing these EPs looked like a lot of early mornings and evenings spent at my computer screen. Some days feeling like I made no changes at all. I’m a pretty early riser—waking up at 4 am which are when many of these songs came to mind. I spend most of my time working when the world is quiet which sounds nice but isn’t always the easiest to do when you live in an older apartment with downstairs neighbors. Everything I do to get things moving in the morning is an inconvenience to the people around me—the creaky wood floors, tracking vocals, tapping my drum machine...just one of the many ways I’ve woken up my girlfriend throughout the years. Trying to find a balance between making my music when the creativity strikes while also being a respectful roommate/neighbor is tricky but we make it work.

I’m grateful for the people who have helped me elevate these songs beyond this space. Friends like Brett Kramer, Andrew Pham, Ukiah Bogle, Casey Liu, Nathan Hawelu, Harlem (Dotager) and Jonny Bell were crucial to making these songs what they are now."

Maria Chiara Argirò x Blossom

Maria Chiara Argirò’s hypnotic new single “Blossom” was inspired by the beauty and perfection of nature and questions what it means to grow in this world – as a human or plant. Lyrically the song evolved into a fairytale scene. Maria tells, “A girl wakes up in the night, looks out of the window and sees someone she loves leaving, probably for good. She wants to call out and say ‘don't go’, but the words don't come out. Instead a little flower drops out of her mouth. The flower represents growing and moving on from something, or a deeper understanding of the situation. The flower comes out instead of the words that are holding you back.”

The upcoming LP, Forest City, is due out on May 6, 2022.

“I think she’s gonna blow your mind” BBC’s Maryanne Hobbs

"a clubby departure for Argirò, trading in clever chord changes for a hypnotic beat & swelling synth pads." FADER

“In a month all your cool friends will talk about Maria Chiara Argirò” Rolling Stone (IT)

“...a seemingly effortless blend of electronic elements with dance beats and a chocolate fudge swirl of jazz trumpet, this builder commands center stage. Play it loud for a weekend catharsis” KCRW

"drifts between club culture's left-field aspects and jazz improvisation" CLASH

Maria Chiara Argirò x Bonsai

As posted on Fader, Maria Chiara Argirò has announced her debut album Forest City with the single release of "Bonsai."

"Bonsai" was also named Clash's song of the day.

"New song 'Bonsai' is - appropriately, given the title - a microcosm of her work, with the billowing house elements carrying a unique physicality.  Heady, other-worldly stuff, 'Bonsai' grows organically, the lush horn elements augmented by the percussive rattle." - CLASH

"a clubby departure for Argirò, trading in clever chord changes for a hypnotic beat and swelling synth pads." - The FADER

On Forest City, Maria finds a glistening thread between these movements: where jazz meets Kelly Lee Owens, Jon Hopkins and Radiohead. It’s a concept record, about the “duality of nature and city”, where organic sounds and textures seem to flow above the urban sprawl. 

Maria had finished writing the album before the first lockdown but the enforced isolation helped to give the music a sense of urgency, a longing to be immersed in the natural world and the buzz of the city at the same time. The songs always start as something she can play acoustically, that would work without the bells and whistles, and then she layers the atmosphere around them. 

Though the album has dark undertones, it’s not all doom and gloom: in her earthy metropolis, a certain optimism glows through. “It’s about being conscious of the world we live in and how careful we need to be,” Maria explains. “At the end of the day, there is hope”.

Her new, warm and house-inflected single “Bonsai” came spontaneously. Maria reveals, The main theme and melodies came out of an improvisation I had on my Yamaha CS reface over the first rhythmic synth idea. I remember trying many different sounds playing on my laptop, on Ableton and some VST, focussing on having a playful time rather than being too worried and conscious of the outcome. I wanted to create a playful dance floor track, but I also needed a drastic and big drop to happen at a certain point, like a wake-up call: the trumpet sounded like the best choice to get this “shouting” moment and drop. Like falling.”

Forest City was recorded and self-produced between her bedroom and her studio with the precious help of her longtime collaborators and electronic producers, In a Sleeping Mood and mixing engineer Alex Killpartrick. And, crucially, she is singing for the first time, too – her airy, otherworldly vocals on “Blossom” and “Clouds” especially resemble Emiliana Torrini or a singer in a smoky, late-night club, alone under the spotlight on the stage.

Opening track “Home” sets up the shadowy textural claustrophobia of the city, its melancholic piano evoking raindrops on crowded pavement; then the album evolves into a mesmeric journey spanning downbeat trip-hop, all skittering drums and warped trumpet (“Forest City”), dream-like, folkier songwriting (“Greenarp”, which was named after the arpeggios she created on her beloved Organelle synth), shoegazey alt-pop, punctured by poignant brass solos (“Blossom”) and beguiling jazztronica that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Jamie XX set (“Clouds”). 

Forest City sees its release via Innovative Leisure on May 6th. To pre-order / pre-save the album, go here.

This month, Maria is wrapping up a UK tour with Emma-Jean Thackery - more dates to be announced. 

Maria Chiara Argirò x Clouds

Multi-instrumentalist & jazz trained pianist Maria Chiara Agirò (pronounced ma-REE-ah key-AH-rah r-gee-ROW) has weaved her way throughout UK and Italy’s jazz, classical & electronic worlds for over a decade. She emerges with her first full venture into electronic production with a new studio album due later this spring.

Maria has been quietly weaving her way around the UK jazz, classical and electronic worlds since she moved to London from Rome 11 years ago. A pianist from the age of nine and a key player in the capital’s multi-national jazz scene, she’s lent her skills to indie band These New Puritans, lush jazz troupe Kinkajous and, more recently, collaborations with Jamie Leeming – their 2020 album Flow was nominated for one of the albums of the year in the Jazz Revelations Awards and was the Guardian’s jazz album of the month – and beat-driven duo Moonfish. 

Maria recorded and self-produced “Clouds” between her bedroom and studio with the precious help of her longtime collaborators and electronic producers, In a Sleeping Mood and mixing engineer Alex Killpartrick. And, crucially, she is singing for the first time, too – her airy, otherworldly vocals on “Clouds” resemble Emiliana Torrini or a singer in a smoky, late-night club, alone under the spotlight on the stage.

Maria explains that “Clouds” is “a pure observation of the world I pictured where the clouds, sky and dreamy movement of the synths and vocal samples meet with the earth/roots of the electronic beat/drums and where all the elements evolve and come back, like in a circular movement. In order to create this effect and this mood, I needed to mix the acoustic drums with the electronic beats, having the trumpet improvising over the odd time signature and creating a circled sound effect on the chords and harmony of the prophet.”

See more on the song in Clash's track of the day post.