MAGUIRE is London-based classically trained multi-instrumentalist and singer Gillian Maguire. She has been touring since the age of 16, playing across the world with artists from french singer SoKo to Ghostpoet. She’s also recorded strings on numerous albums; most notably Mystery Jets’ ‘Curve Of The Earth’, Ben Howard’s ‘Noonday Dream’ and Marika Hackman’s forthcoming album ‘ Any Human Friend’. Turning her attention to her solo project over the last two years has seen her release her debut EP ‘Préludes’ in June 2019 and support RY X on his UK shows earlier this year under the artist name MAGUIRE.
Produced by Steph Marziano and mixed by Barny Barnicott, her debut EP ‘Préludes’ evokes a sense of hopeful melancholy. It probes questions about the human condition – loneliness, intimacy, desire, and the nature of creative inspiration. Ultimately it urges for true connection in a time of isolation.
She said of the lead track: “‘Strangers’ ponders the paradox of being intimate with a complete stranger, and explores the disparity between the real version of such a ﬂeeting and passionate encounter and our memory of it after. The temptation to romanticise people and events raises questions about the subjective nature of reality and our perception of it, made all the more subjective when it comes to matters of the heart.” Following on from themes of isolation and disconnection from reality sees her pondering who we are behind the black mirror of our online selves – a very pressing concern amongst our generation.
Her ﬁrst single ‘Behind The Screen’ is an attempt to articulate the virtual dance we partake in; endlessly observing one another and being observed from afar. Instead it encourages connection in the physical realm beyond the shadow world of technology. Her second single “‘Fallible’ probes equally exposing questions of what it means to truly know another soul, and whether this can be achieved purely through the mind or whether love requires physical intimacy in order to ripen and grow. It maps the frustrations of a love affair conducted in secret, exploring the intrinsic human ﬂaws of desire and greed that plague us all.
” The accompanying video is a breathtakingly candid portrait of the artist. It was directed by actress-turned-director Bonnie Wright, and shot in the Malibu hills, beginning in the intimate setting of a bedroom. As the song unfolds the lines between public and private, and reality and fantasy become gradually blurred. “The shift from poised detached driver to helpless passenger, exposed to the expansive wild surroundings, illustrates the loss of control in the face of an overwhelming love; made all the more frustrating as it is forbidden and thus unrealised” explains MAGUIRE.
Her constant search for authenticity and truth produces real lyrical substance. An avid reader – having studied English Literature at UCL – she ﬁnds inspiration in a wide range of sources, from her favourite poets like T.S. Eliot and Milton, to more contemporary writers like Teju Cole, and even artists like Agnes Martin. Seeing all existence as a sponge through which to access creative inspiration has allowed her to come at the process of writing music from an organic heartfelt place. The scope of musical inﬂuences is equally extensive, ranging from her classical upbringing playing a lot of Debussy – the nod to his ‘Préludes’ evident in the title of the EP – and Chopin, to more contemporary artists like Feist and Thom York; enabling her to create a timeless sound removed from any trends. Critics have drawn comparisons with artists like PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi and Thom Yorke, calling the EP ‘subtly experimental yet always accessible,’ and her sound ‘remarkably intimate, restrained and mature’ – Bittersweet Symphonies.
Collaboration, has always been key to her musical journey as a means of galvanising inspiration from multiple genres and styles in order to reach her own unique sonic landscape. As well as making her solo music, she is one half of the arthouse electronic project ‘Awkward Moments’ along with DJ / producer Mimi Xu. Awkward Moments is the birth child of dj, producer and composer Mimi Xu. Xu has always been interested in the
relationship between music and performance art, exploring the ﬁeld of ‘Expanded Cinema’ – a term coined in the mid-1960s by American experimental ﬁlmmaker Stan Vanderbeek that describes work both inside and outside of the gallery including live performance, projector pieces, video and a range of media environments.
Awkward Moments was born out of this concept, and was ﬁrst launched in London in May 2017. For series V – premiered at Houghton Festival 2018 – Xu brought in classically trained multiinstrumentalist and singer Maguire to co-write and perform the 40 minute piece of music entitled ‘An Entropic Cycle’. The pair layer interweaving electronic beats over organic instruments and atmospheric vocals to mirror the relationship between the tangible and the ethereal; between fragmentation and order. This concept is further explored visually using multimedia projection of abstract video content.
Awkward Moments is divided into six chapters each one leading us through the different cycles of life, death and rebirth. In the words of Virginia Woolf – ‘I see myself as a ﬁsh in a stream; deﬂected; held in place; but cannot describe the stream.’ This is their attempt to recreate that stream of existence through music and visuals. Xu and Maguire are currently writing Series V.2 “A Strange Odyssey” which they will perform at this year’s Houghton Festival.
MAGUIRE is currently in the studio with producer Liam Howe (Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs) working on future releases, and has shows coming up in October supporting Josin across the UK.
Préludes EP: https://orcd.co/maguirepreludes