Published Jun 11, 2020Gia Margaret's second album was not the one she planned to make following her debut There's Always Glimmer, an incisive record of supple lullabies deeply softened by Margaret's comforting vocal melodies. After contracting an illness that rendered her voiceless for almost half a year, the Chicago-based songwriter channelled her frustrations into a mostly-instrumental album called Mia Gargaret, a sort of a tongue-in-cheek way of acknowledging the way her life got turned around backwards for a little while.
Where Margaret is unable to express in words, she evokes intense feelings of belonging and restfulness through short but satisfying ambient tracks replete with hypnotic synthesizer loops, field recordings of gentle waves flowing over her bare feet, distant church bells and her usual meditative acoustic guitar and piano playing. Instead of being discouraged, Margaret made an album that is hopeful and a quiet reminder to breathe and listen to the slow passing of time.
On There's Always Glimmer, glinting instrumentals were accompanied by Margaret's soft words of affirmation, providing immediate relief. Without her voice, songs like "INWIW" and "ash" are incredibly rich with warm, gleaming electronic tones, creating loose textured soundscapes to get lost in. Margaret's ever-so-slightly creaky piano on "no sleep no dream" and "3 movements" act like a soothing balm, effortlessly at peace and reminiscent of Grouper's most nostalgic moments.
The album begins with "apathy" and ends with "lesson," neatly documenting Margaret's path of self-healing, from anxiety to re-discovering her intrinsic love of music during a difficult time in her life. The former is interlaced with sound clips from her vocal therapy sessions, while the latter is the only song Margaret sings on, alluding to her eventual return to her former self. While the record may not have been what she was expecting to create, it illuminates immense growth and versatility in Margaret's strength as a songwriter and as a producer. (Orindal Records)