Album Review: Maria Chiara Argirò – Forest City

Alexandra Waespi

The Breakdown

Forest City demands your attention and its only when you give it fully can you truly appreciate the artistry on display.

After teaming up with Jamie Leeming on the album ‘Flow’ (read our review here) jazz fusion pianist Maria Chiara Argirò has returned with a new album, ‘Forest City’ released on US label Innovative Leisure. Forest City is a concept record, about the “duality of nature and city”, and where organic sounds and textures seem to flow above the urban sprawl.

The album sees Argirò further expand her boundaries in creative and innovate soundscapes and textures using mixing various genres. The opening track ‘Home’ sits as a statement of this new direction, with a dystopian start of slowed down vocals and piano. A short piece to set the scene as the album opens up with expansive synths and electronic beats, of title track ‘Forest City’. The track carries on the uneasy musical start from ‘Home’ mixing it with dreamy vocals.

‘Greenarp’ named after the arpeggios she created on her beloved Organelle synth has a cold lonely feel, with only Argirò’s vocals lending any warmth at the start. This is the first album to have her vocals feature adding another dimension to her work and a feel like she is emerging from behind her music.

With three singles released from the album, that gave an insight to the vast array of elements on the album. The artificial sounding ‘Bonsai’ which builds into a gorgeous dance track and the organic sounding ‘Clouds’ which has the same chilled trip-hop vibe. The third single ‘Blossom’ is a hazy track that floats through shimmering synths and sleepy vocals, before a blast of a trumpet sets to wake the whole track up.

The cinematic ‘Skyr’ acts as an interlude or intro for the next track ‘Treehouse’. ‘Skyr’ roots itself with the deep percussive boom and synths rise and fall. ‘Treehouse’ flips the confident beat of ‘Skyr’ and lays down a nervous skippy drum beat under spooky fuzzy synths. An interesting offering from Maria Chiara Argirò who challenges as she engages on an album that’s part journey and part escapism.

At times the album comes over cold with its industrial soundscapes but it’s the way all the tracks blend into each other across the whole 8 tracks that the magic happens. Forest City is an album you lose yourself without realising. Trapped under the waving spell of synths and percussive beats. If anything it demonstrates what this lady can do with her expansive creative talent “I thought, ‘I’m going to do exactly what I want to do, without boundaries,”.

Check out the video for the track Greenarp, below:

Find out more via Argirò’s Website or Facebook

Purchase the album here

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