Saturday, February 15, 2020

Marian Hill on the artistically stripped down "Was It Not"

"stripped down framework"

When I first heard the finely nuanced Was it Not by NYC duo Marian Hill I jotted down on my notebook, "an exercise in less is more" and now as read that line I guess scribble down almost illegibly might be more accurate but, still, that first impression still holds true to me. Marian Hill is producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol and I would imagine that the choice to go so spartan (which I have found out is their signature sound) is a purposeful one, an artistic choice and one that almost always works. I mean, it works if the stripped down framework and the elements within that framework are just plain dazzling. I mean when you are sonically naked you sort of have to put it all out their emotionally / artistically because there is not much to hide behind. 

Suffice it to say, Marian Hill succeed. Crafted on soft keys, almost static beats and vocal samples, part lounge and part hip hop.
Gongol seems to sing despite it all, dark and smoky remembrances. The result feels like old images on film.

Robb Donker


NYC duo Marian Hill gear up for the release of a new EP and gift us with a little taste of what's to come with their new single "Was It Not." 
Dark and sultry, "Was It Not" brings an advanced sound to the table. Known for their ability to infuse soul into a minimalistic soundscape, Marian Hill aim to shed themselves of their alt-electronic box and push the boundaries of their signature sound. The new single "lives in a strange emotional in-between" says the duo and it comes equipped with a stunning visual component that you can preview HERE. 
This new collection of songs brings us a more evolved Marian Hill. You can expect compositions that pulls from the spare, woozy landscapes of their earlier works with an added layer polish. The EP (due out this March) explores themes that see the duo reflecting back on the past seven years of their career while looking forward to the future. 
On the track producer/songwriter Jeremy Lloyd, explains, "'Was It Not' is a song we've wanted to make for a long time. It pulls deeply from the jazz influences we started from - it sounds like a dark, smokey club and the vocal slices through that texture like butter. It's about considering a relationship from long ago - remembering how we were so in love, and that person was everything to us, only now when we think about that one time...was that moment them? Or are we mixing it up with another fragment from our past? It's about feeling a yearning for what once was, but only for a second, because you remember why you left it in the past, and who you are now. It lives in a strange emotional in-between and we love it. A lot."

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