There is a wistful tide that turns the sinews of one’s heart in the great expanse of Gia Margaret’s evolving offerings. ‘Romantic Piano’ follows the ephemeral precedent set in her ambient album ‘Mia Gargaret’ in 2020, which was somewhat of a life preserver for myself during the pandemic, and ‘There’s Always Glimmer’ in 2019. She’s unafraid to feel and is open to commit to a certain level of honesty that is nothing less than reverant. Her sound continues to dissect the grasp of being, with a personal approach that is utterly brave. This third album is no different in sound or posture, her world of piano is a sublime return to her construction of self and nature that I continue to feel subdued and unraveled in. Previous tracks like ‘For Flora’, ‘Birthday’, ‘INWIW’, and ‘Apathy’ offer this subtle world of Gia Margaret, an amalgamation of feeling into what’s left, imbued with something you could name as cousin to nostalgia.
She stretches far into each note and exhales secrets that seem to bleed off the composition and into some space where remember the vastness of interconnection. The entire body of work feels as much as a hello as a goodbye, there is something to be remembered in her compositions. However, there is a novel feeling of hope and discovery interlaid between her chord progressions. Nothing is left unsaid, yet nothing is overdone. There is a tender beauty in her simple and honest sound. Horns accompany a beautiful syncopation of watered piano notes on ‘A Stretch’, leaving me wistful in both a feeling of Beirut and Duke Ellington. A masterful marriage of sounds gives us room to undo and fall into a world where we know romance.
Gia’s approach to the piano is evolved, meticulous and transforms throughout the album. ‘Sitting at Piano’ feels akin to the sounds of Ethiopian pianist, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou. And in this world of dexterity, she fosters a world where we as the listener can remember nuance and the layered evolution of that which we name as love.
‘2017’ brings us back into the same world she plays in on Mia Gargaret with her own speaking voice and audio samples from a lecture titled ‘Overcome Social Anxiety’ by the British philosopher Alan Watts on the track “Body. On ‘2017’ we hear churned background sounds of children playing with the subtle piano chord progressions and metronomed voice. It all swells to a poignant voice clip that is both soothing and reflective. Here we fully seize and know Gia’s brilliance, she captures states of being and feeling outside of simple notes, she constructs worlds for our hearts and minds to find sanctuary in.
‘A Hidden Track’ draws the album to a perfect close. I am brought to tears not just in the evoked memories, but from her commitment to an assurance to how things are. There is a deep reverence in her minimal piano compositions and angelic voice. As the album closes, we are reminded of stillness and the nuance of being. ‘Romantic Piano’ is a gesture of love and is filled with a grace that reminds me of Walden pond, the open sky and the beauty of being in and of nature. Once again I am moved with the delicate care Gia Margaret approaches her art with, something of a prayer and an anthem to the sovereignty of unraveling, longing and finding. ‘Romantic Piano’ seizes the undercurrents of our being to remember we are love.
Words: Rae Niwa