Gia Margaret

Romantic Piano (Jagjaguwar)

Contact Jacob Daneman about Gia Margaret

Today, Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist Gia Margaret announces her new album, Romantic Piano, out May 26th on her new label home Jagjaguwar and presents its lead single, “Hinoki Wood.” The highly anticipated follow up to 2020’s acclaimed Mia Gargaret, on which “a tangible feeling of relief and optimism radiates from the album as if the path of new possibilities are stretching out in front of its creator in real time” (The FADER), Romantic Piano continues along the wordless trajectory of its predecessor and marks Margaret’s debut on her new label home, Jagjaguwar. “Romantic Piano was written with a beginner’s mind,” Margaret says. “For this collection, I thought: ‘What if I could clear my head of all the things I have learned about the piano? What would those songs sound like?’”


“Hinoki Wood” doubles as Romantic Piano’s lead single and opening track, a brief and gentle submersion into Margaret’s music, accompanied by a gorgeous stop motion video featuring clay animation by Gaia Alari. Of “Hinoki Wood,” Margaret states: ‘Hinoki Wood’ feels like it was made with colors I haven’t used. (And I happened to be burning Hinoki incense when I recorded it.) Hinoki aroma is known to reduce stress, tiredness and stimulate the brain. In a way, I wanted these songs to do the same for myself/for the person listening.”


“I wanted to make music that was useful,” says Margaret, vastly understating the power of the record. Romantic Piano is curious, calming, patient and incredibly moving — but it doesn’t overstay its welcome for more than a second.


At first, Gia Margaret called her new album Romantic Piano to be a bit cheeky. Its spare, gentle piano works share more spirit with Erik Satie, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou and the Marginalia releases of Masakatsu Takagi than they do with, say, a cozy and candle-lit date night. But in that cheekiness lies hidden intention: across the gorgeous 13-track set, “Romantic” is suggested in a more classic sense, what the Germans call waldeinsamkeit. Its compositions conjure the sublime themes of the Romantic poets: solitude in nature, nature’s ability to heal and to teach; a sense of contended melancholy.


Margaret’s debut, 2019’s There’s Always Glimmer, was a lyrical wonder, but when an illness on tour left her unable to sing, she made Mia Gargaret, her ambient album which revealed a keen intuition for arrangement and composition not fully shown on Glimmer’s lyrical songs. Romantic Piano, too, is almost totally without words. “Writing instrumental music, in general, is a much more joyful process than I find in lyrical songwriting,” she says. “The process ultimately affects my songwriting.” And while Margaret has more songwriterly material on the way, Romantic Piano solidifies her as a compositional force.


Originally pursuing a degree in composition, Margaret dropped out of music school halfway through. “I really didn’t want to play in an orchestra,” she said of her decision, “I really just wanted to write movie scores. Then, I started to focus more and more on being a songwriter. Romantic Piano scratched an old itch.” Romantic Piano does indeed touch on a rare feeling in art often only reserved for the cinema — a simultaneous wide-lens awe of existence and the post-language intimate inner monologue of being.