Dreamy atmospheres, personal storytelling, and hypnotic melodies define Mariassunta‘s latest project. Over eight tracks, the artist draws on a myriad of experiences, from overcoming depression to defining non-traditional relationships and seeking peace.
The unconventional writing process, which Mariassunta describes as ‘musical divination,’ lends an air of spontaneity and intimacy to the work.
Today, we dive deep into the details of Mariassunta’s new ethereal offering, available now via streaming services.
“I Miss the Pain,” the album’s opener, captures a moment of yearning for intensity amidst monotony. It speaks to the craving for excitement that can sometimes lead us down less than ideal paths. Similarly, “Press Into” explores the undefined spaces in relationships, conjuring a deeply relaxing atmosphere through intertwined guitar loops and reverb-drenched vocals.
“Brine,” on the other hand, is a deliberate retreat into serenity, while “Heavy Behind the Eyes” hides a humorous, secret ingredient – a sample of Mariassunta’s laughter tucked subtly into the mix.
The album’s more melancholic moments come in tracks like “Somehow,” which addresses the profound loss of a sibling, and “Collapsing is My Peace,” a hypnotic, trance-inducing composition built around nebulous synth loops. The latter also features barely perceptible foreshadowing vocals, a thoughtful addition by co-producer Quinn Patrick Murphy.
“Can’t Love You” is a manifesto of sorts, encapsulating Mariassunta’s ethos as a ‘relationship anarchist.’ It’s a term that encapsulates a deconstructed view on love and relationships, valuing deep and meaningful connections without the constraints of traditional roles or expectations.
Rounding off the album is “The Air You Breathe in a Place,” a minimalistic, healing piece where Mariassunta’s voice is stripped back to the bare essentials accompanied only by a piano.
Created in partnership with hardcore punk legend Quinn Patrick Murphy at the underground studio survival crimes, Mariassunta’s album is a nuanced, emotionally rich soundscape, making it a compelling listen for fans of artists like Grouper, Miserable, and Julianna Barwick. Its deeply personal storytelling combined with airy vocals and hypnotic rhythms make this album not just a musical experience, but a journey through the artist’s emotional and relational world.
1. I Miss the Pain
It was Christmas 2020 and I was coming out of a dry spell with my music. I had been dating this person who I loved dearly, but didn’t feel super attracted to. And in that first pandemic year, I was so isolated, and just really bored. I thought, maybe I would rather have something exciting, even if it’s dangerous… or stupid. So I started writing “I Miss the Pain”.
Later, I became infatuated with other people who turned out to be terrible for me, but I would chase after them for whatever reason. I added the second verse, which starts “I follow your scent into the night”. I’m blindly following this animalistic attraction. The lyric “I only want what I can’t get” sums up a lot.
2. Press Into
“Press Into” sinks into a deeply relaxing and intimate space. You’re here with another person, and there’s no label on the relationship.
Writing the song started with building two interlocking guitar loops that form a hypnotic, atmospheric rhythm. Few words are said. Instead, I lean into just making a “vibe”, with airy reverb’d-out vocals.
When I was 19, my older brother committed suicide. Our relationship as siblings, and the void left in me by his death, is complex. I wanted to write about how I’ve tried to carry on his talent as a writer and musician, while also practicing self-care in a way he couldn’t. Oh and I watched this documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry”, and there’s a lot showing Finneas, her brother and collaborator, being super supportive and rubbing her back when she’s crying and stuff. I was like damn, this is 100% what is missing in my life. And it’s weird how my brother is dead and I’m not, for some reason. “Somehow, I’ve made it so far.”
Honestly, I just wanted to chill the fuck out on this one.
5. Heavy Behind the Eyes
So I had planned to add in a little percussion shaker sound to this track, as an accent… but Quinn Murphy (co-producer) had this brilliant idea to chop up some random recording of me laughing between takes, and sprinkle that in instead. You have to listen closely for it. I think it’s awesome and also hilarious.
6. Collapsing is My Peace
Eiríkr Åsheim (from Mar) sent me these spacey synth loops, thinking I’d add them as background in something… Instead I layered effects to make them even more nebulous, and made that the entire instrumental of the song. Everything about the sound, lyrics, and performance of this track is about sinking into a trance state.
Quinn again had a genius idea to take extra vocals of mine and bury them in the mix. If you listen closely, there is foreshadowing of each line, barely audible, like a little whisper in your ear.
7. Can’t Love You
I’m a “relationship anarchist”. It’s like polyamory, but it deconstructs the “primary” partner, and treats all friendships with the same potential for deep, meaningful love. Every now and then, someone comes along who maybe thinks I’m going to be “The One” for them, and that we’ll get married or something. I’m sorry. I do love you, but I will never be yours.
8. The Air You Breathe in a Place
I wanted something that felt minimal, healing, and present as an outro. Just me and piano. No lyrics.
I thought of titling this track “Atmosfera” (Italian for “Atmosphere”), and then noticed the definition “l’aria che si respira in un luogo”. Translated literally it means “the air you breathe in a place”. I thought that was poetic and perfect for this last song.