Maïa Vidal
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Maïa Vidal

Barcelona, Spain | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Barcelona, Spain | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Pop Indie

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"Oh stop it, Maia Vidal. You’re just showing off now."

You're The Waves
9/10
Release date: 23 October 2015
Country: United States

Multi-textual artist, instrumentalist and sometime linguist; Maia Vidal can do it all.

Thankfully music, is at the centre of her delightful universe. Now we have another sparkling full LP to gawp at in the form of You’re The Waves. Shield your eyes and open your ears.

There are significant changes from her 2011 solo debut God Is My Bike which brought Vidal her biggest popular success to date with “Follow Me” and its accompanying UKMVA-nominated video. You’re The Waves is less maudlin, but still contains a brooding darkness if you take the care to look into its shadowy corners. It’s also less polemical, as she turns to the simple elegance of love for inspiration.

The first three singles “Bones”,”The Tide” and “Islands of You and Me” form a triptych of videos that elucidate the young Californian's vision of her own work. She co-directs herself moving from a fancy dress party, where the lyric “bones” is amusingly more literal than one might expect, to a sun-soaked secluded island idyll where she revels with her expressionless skeletal amour. It’s an interesting artistic choice to bring songs to life which such literalism, especially when so many videos choose a safer, more generic serious of metaphorical scenes. Of course, when someone has such an exquisite imagination perhaps one wants their interpretation first and foremost, while the mind’s eye harnours its own ideas. Much like book-to-screen adaptations, there are two versions, and the choice is there for the consumer. That said, go watch the videos back-to-back.

As subject matter condenses, the range of the music itself expands. A deep electronic grind from “The Tide” is complimented by the short burst of petal-delicacy that is “El Azar”. All of the tracks ooze pop in all its fizzy, memorable goodness. There are still plenty of quirky jingle-jangles and stuttered tempos to satisfy hardcore fans but Vidal seems as though she is really letting down her (admittedly quite short) hair on this record.

Rounding up the album are the signature foreign-language tracks. “El Azar” (‘the random’) and “Dejame Llegar” (roughly ‘let me go’) are this time sung in Spanish, as opposed to the demi-French God Is My Bike, perhaps reflecting her time recording previous effort Spaces in Barcelona. They close a tour de force of an album by an embarrasingly talented artist. - The Line of Best Fit


"VICE Exclusive: Watch Maïa Vidal Nearly Drown in Her New Music Video for 'The Tide'"

Maïa Vidal is a singer-songwriter who's gained a sizable following for her intriguing live shows where she sings, plays multiple instrumentals, and programs loops simultaneously. She already has two albums under her belt, but her third full-length, You're the Waves, which drops in September, feels like a real breakthrough.

To get people excited, Maïa released a six-song EP in April called The Tide. We're exclusively premiering the video for the titular track of that EP, which is a moody homage to her hometown of Ithaca. Watch it above and read the interview we did with Maïa below to get her thoughts on her new material and her creative outlook.

VICE: It seems unusual to release an EP and a full length in such quick succession. How'd that idea come about?
Maïa Vidal: I'm always rushing everything. This is my third album, so I'm trying a new process. I started writing the songs almost two years ago and finished recording it maybe ten months ago. Originally, it was just going to be an album. Luckily, I'm not sick of the songs yet. I wanted it to come out last fall, but the label wanted to get everything in place first. In the meantime, I've been figuring out how to play everything live. I play all the instruments on the songs, so how do you bring that to the stage?

-You just need to figure out a way to get eight robotic arms.
"I played all the instruments on my first album and when I played on stage I would play the accordion with my left hand and toy piano with my right. And then I would control a loop station with my left foot and a bass drum with my right foot. I wanted the arrangements to be just so and just wanted to do it by myself. Over the years, I found that if I wasn't working 17 machines and concentrating on everything else, that I sang differently. So it's been a challenge to balance the richness of instrumentation and also be relaxed on stage."

-That's a lot to handle. How was your actual recording process different this time around?
"I try to keep experimenting and producing stuff in a different way. I was sick of my second album after it came out, but I tried to find what I missed, which was the accidental aspect. You make good work when you're not trying to make good work. The second album didn't have the same freshness I felt originally. So after that, I started writing again immediately and experimenting with the idea of the "cult of the accidental." I put a lot of importance on the accidental harmonies that came out, and not overthink it."

-That seems to be the good thing about working everyday where you can turn off your self-criticism to a degree.
"Right. Things would just come about on their own. At that time, also, I was dating my drummer and co-producer, and fell in love with somebody else. That was pretty prompt inspiration, this intense crazy thing, dealing with feelings of a breakup and all that. And I wasn't able to spend time with this person right away, so I was just alone with my feelings all day. So I just kept writing songs constantly. It was a perfect serendipity type of thing. Since inspiration was coming so quickly, I would end up being on a plane and having GarageBand on my phone and working with beats and synths suddenly, which I hadn't really done before. It was only because I had to work so fast and deal with what I had. I've been immersed in this album for so long and I'm really excited to share it."

-Tell me more about this video.
"The guy who came up with the idea for the video is my ex-boyfriend from college. He helped me with my album art on my first couple albums and he hadn't done anything with video but we've always collaborated to some extent. He's my barometer for "cool." For the video we went back to Ithaca where we grew up and I drove an old Volvo around an abandoned gas station. When I tried to describe Upstate New York to people here in Spain they just say, "Oh, so it's like Twin Peaks?" [Laughs]"

Right, anything that's not the city is Twin Peaks. Looks pretty cool, though. Thanks for talking to us about this. - Vice


"Maïa Vidal - You’re The Waves"

Maïa Vidal - You’re The Waves

It seems that every album Maia Vidal brings comes with a drastic reinvention of herself. Born in California of French and Japanese/German parents, and now spending her time travelling between New York and Barcelona, her trademark of soaring melodies have remained a constant part of her musical journey ever since her 2011 debut, ‘God Is My Bike’ first surfaced.

On ‘You’re The Waves’, Vidal’s new incarnation is one that focus more singularly on love and lust, even if song titles such as ‘Jell-O’ don’t immediately reveal it. A collected force of jangling noise and swaying electronic tones, ‘You’re The Waves’ erupts with experimental pop tones filled with pastel colours and upbeat flavours. A multi-instrumentalist in her own right, Vidal’s ability to orchestrate keyboards, auto-harps, violin, guitar, and beat programming all come together in the blossoming opening tracks.

It’s this collection of instruments mixed with Vidal’s unique form of expression that make ‘You’re The Waves’ a dynamic triumph. Opening tracks of ‘Bones’, ‘Islands of You and Me’, and the vibrant, ‘The Tide’ burst with an overflowing sense of romance, and they set a perfect pitch for the remainder of the album.

There’s a sense of wonder in every song that plays in ‘You’re The Waves’, from the sweetly sung ‘Mama (Told Me So)’, all the way to the final shy notes of ‘The Long Dry Road’. It’s a wondrous journey that Vidal has created, and it’s a thoroughly unique blend of pop styles that will surely be the catalyst for Vidal’s breakthrough.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Anthem: Bones - Anthem Review


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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