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Presented by Foggy Notions

Marta Del Grandi

Upstairs at Whelan's

Aug. 17, 2024

8 p.m.

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“Ultimately compels with its detached, Lynchian ambience.” ALLMUSIC
“Bucolic yet often emotionally complex, her songwriting – patching electronic synths against ambient elements, with a touch of modern classical – taps into areas that go beyond words.” CLASH
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.
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.
The album opens with ‘Mata Hari’, 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.
“Selva, with the meaning of wood, forest, is a word with a strong literary value, a topos, an archetypal place, a setting for myths and fairy tales, where it’s easy to get lost. I discovered that selva also has another meaning that connects to my initial idea of greenhouse: "a large quantity of disparate elements, confusedly amassed in a small place" and also "a large quantity of thoughts, memories, reflections”... Irregularity, confusion.”
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. “These songs are quite personal compared to anything in the past. This time I wanted to dig deeper into my own experience, write about how I feel things and reveal some of my deepest thoughts. It talks about love and friendship, feeling conflicted and obsessed, being eager to experience and longing for a place to be in peace. In a way it even talks about death.”
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.

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