By Cree McCree | Published November 2019
The magnetic pull of the sea long has lured great artists, poets and composers. Maria Chiara Argirò, a London-based pianist, answers its call on Hidden Seas, an impassioned suite of soundscapes that cements her stature as a significant new voice in creative music.
Inspired by Edward MacDowell’s 1898 Sea Pieces for piano, Argirò composed all the music on her second full-length album. To move beyond The Fall Dance, her more traditional debut, she recruited the brilliant French singer Leïla Martial and several outside lyricists, expanding her orchestral palette with song concepts, as well as her own swirling synths and electronics. Martial, propelled by lyrics she co-wrote with Argirò, dives “Beneath The Surface” in the opener and ponders “what it means to leap across the waves.” “Wandering Iceberg” invokes climate-change distress with screeching horns and Martial’s mantra of “give it back,” before the chaos subsides and laps gently back to shore. Then it’s all hands on deck for the gorgeous closer, “Ocean,” a boffo finish as deep and wide as the ocean itself. Compelling throughout, Hidden Seas reveals more sunken treasures with every listen and sets a high bar for Argirò albums yet to come.
Hidden Seas: Beneath The Surface; Nautilus; Sea Song; From One Land To Another; The Water Oath; To The Sea; Watery Universe; Starlight; Wandering Iceberg; Ocean. (45:27)
Personnel: Maria Chiara Argirò, piano, keyboards; Sam Rapley, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Tal Janes, guitar; Andrea Di Biase, bass; Gaspar Sena, drums, percussion; Leïla Martial, vocals.