(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 66: Marta Del Grandi

Marta Del Grandi (@Rishi Jha)

Italian-born Marta Del Grandi is an eclectic singer songwriter gathering influences from near and far to create a unique genre-splicing style, a jazz vocalist originally, now travelling her own unique and unchartered path. Marta studied Jazz Vocals at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, she visited China, then Nepal where she taught at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, before returning to Italy where she unpacked the influences and inspirations she’d soaked up. Re-connecting with old sparring partners and collaborators along the way, she met new like-minded souls and developed a plan that had first been ignited in Kathmandu’s rarefied air where she re-imagined her relationship with music and its with her. From there, songs became soundtracks, patterns emerged, vocals drifted over electronic synths, classical structures and ambient soundwaves ran abreast; strange nuances of texture evolved. Her vocal style matured; became folky, West Coast, ethereal, pronounced, enveloped, exotic, explorative, a chameleon-like presence counter-balancing her music. Marta Del Grandi has studied the fine art of songwriting, drawing from the wonderment of life, she weaves stories of marine fossils at the peak of the Himalayas, myths around precious stones and species on the brink of extinction. Morricone-esque in structure, with a hint of David Lynch, her music is playful and evocative. Signed to Fire Records, she released her debut album for the label, Until We Fossilize, on November 5th, 2021.

What She Says: “Somebody New is about growing and changing. While writing that song I wondered if it’s possible for one to find their true identity despite how the others see them and the role they were given. It was inspired by a trip to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, where I learnt about a bird species called the Great Indian Bustard; these birds are on the brink of extinction because of the infrastructures that were built inside their habitat, the desert. Because they fly low, they often get trapped in the electricity wires. This made me think about how the context around us affects what we may become and I wondered if there’s even a chance to be fully ourselves.” 

Amethyst’ takes inspiration by the myth of Amethyst, filled with Greek mythology, touching the wildest manifestation of imagination, it’s the story of a woman who frees herself from the expectations imposed on her by patriarchy. Composed with Indian drummer Tarun Balani, Marta sounds like Sandy Denny backed by Eno on Gamelan with a nod to Sun Ra.

Her Mixtape: “I made this mixtape out of my current mood, it’s a small collection of meaningful songs for different reasons. I considered them my influences I guess, but I’m sure you can’t hear any of them in my music, because that’s how influences work: you soak them up and reinvent them into something that is just yours.

Half Waif – Fabric

I loved the latest Half Waif’s record, not very well known in Europe. It opens with this short track that I find so compelling…I love short tracks. She has a very interesting way of writing lyrics and she’s not afraid of being dramatic, which is not much in fashion nowadays I feel.

Marina Herlop – Shaolin Mantis

I just discovered this track. It’s very interesting and challenging, I love how the vocals are processed and how essential the arrangement is, yet powerful.

serpentwithfeet – Messy

When I first heard his music in 2017 I was very impressed. Insane vocals that carry so much history with them, perfect production. I’m very fond of his early work especially.

My Brightest Diamond – A Million Pearls

I am a big fan of Shara’s work, she’s a courageous musician, composer, arranger and conductor, she’s a real force of nature. She’s a big influence and a role model to me. I love how this song unravels slowly.

Blonde Redhead – Melody

‘Misery is a Butterfly’ is one of my all time favorite albums, I’m never tired of it, I could listen to it every day. I could have picked any song on the record, I chose ‘Melody’ because I love the drums on this one.

Anna B Savage – Corncrakes

Like Half Waif, she’s also not afraid of being dramatic. I found her debut very brave, still not very well known so I would totally recommend checking it out. I saw her at SXSW and she’s a very powerful solo act too.

Armaud – Lullaby

Armaud is the project of my dear friend Paola. ‘How to Erase a Plot’ is an album from 2015, extremely mature and complete, it speaks to me still and I listen to it often. I told Paola if she was American she’d be as big as Grouper. We live in the web 3 era and yet being from the South of Europe can determine your career very much. I’m desperately waiting for a new album, hopefully it will come.

Mount Eerie – Seaweed

It’s the first time I dare to put a song from this album in a public playlist. It’s just not an album you recommend because it’s very sad. I listen to it every time I have a moment to listen to it entirely with no interruptions and no distractions and those are my favorite moments. I just can’t believe he made this.

You can also find Marta’s Mixtape here and here.

Until We Fossilize is out now on Fire Records. Look HERE for more information on Marta Del Grandi. 

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