Italian singer songwriter Marta Del Grandi returns with ‘Selva’, her most intricate and shimmering effort yet, a refined devotional suite of astute pop that flows effortlessly, uniting emotional complexity, divine organic arrangements with a sci-fi finish. Set for release on 20th October on Fire Records, today we reveal first single and video ‘Mata Hari’ from the album.
Opening track, ‘Mata Hari’, begins with Marta asking “does my voice sound different”; A premonition of the rich tapestry ahead, where songs glide over striking synthetic sweeps, enriched by geometric woodwind and brass sections (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, upright bass) that mesh Mediterranean warmth, the scent of oak, daffodils and brambles and the crispy northern lights.
“‘Mata Hari’ is a homage to the historical figure. Dutch born, she was an exotic dancer who brought elements of Malayan traditional dance in the Parisian scene of early 1900. When I learnt about her story I was intrigued: I thought that she was an innovator to the performance arts world and definitely ahead of her times. For this reason she still remains less known and often misunderstood by the critics.”
The accompanying new video is directed by Cecilia Valagussa. In 2016 she and Marta founded the duo Fossick Project, an audio/visual live performance that mainly focuses on the themes of wildlife conservation and the man/nature relationship. The video is strongly based on Cecilia’s illustrations and her shadow theatre techniques that remind of the Malaysian tradition.
‘Selva’ was mostly written on the road and in Berlin and when the time came to record Marta turned to her old haunting grounds in Ghent (Belgium). Co-produced by Bert Vliegen (Sophia, Whispering Sons) and featuring a quartet of musicians that have been collaborating with Marta since 2015, the sessions resulted in a flurry of creative ideas and one of the artists’ most relaxed experiences ever, perfect foundation for her growth as a singer songwriter.
Beams of choral light radiate and permeate each track, with layered vocal drones creating a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures, as almost to guide us hand in hand across Marta Del Grandi’s enchanted universe. The ambition is blinding, and the outcome is here to prove it: 12 songs of sprawling ethereal pop that is vivid, immense and fully illuminated.
If her debut ‘Until We Fossilize’ showed all the qualities of Marta’s unique approach, tiptoeing between Laurel Canyon dust, Lynchian etherealism and dramatic Morricone scores, ‘Selva’ delves deeper into the undergrowth, showcasing an ambition to deliver a whole new universe, her own ecosystem, where the strength of her voice alone is the pillar to build on.
23 June: Collateral Maris festival, Vieste (IT)
23 Jul: Suoni Controvento festival, Campello sul Clitunno (IT)
26 Aug: Ruina Sonora festival, Valledoria (IT)
‘Selva’ is out 20th October. Available in Black LP & CD.