Toronto's Kira May has given us her first new release since her debut EP in 2014, and we're more than excited to share it with you here. "Muscle Memory", co-produced by May and Sandro Perri, is the new single off her upcoming debut LP Sense. May's EP Health made waves with its distinct use of vocal experimentation and misty atmospheres. Her captivating voice and unique production using heavy vocal layering painted a vivid sonic world that left us waiting for more.
On "Muscle Memory", May offers an evolved sound that incorporates a wider variety of elements in addition to her voice. "[The song] explores the ways in which our bodies hold onto our painful histories…When past traumas are no longer dangerous to us, although well-meaning, our bodies’ attempts to protect us can actually become harmful," May explains. Incredibly, she has managed to make it sound like she transfigured her body into a song. There's an elastic dynamism to her silky blend of sounds that is seeped in humanity, mimicking the feel of inhaling and exhaling. Meanwhile the repetitive motions of her loops evoke the way one can "retreat so deeply into the safety of [one's] own body that it [becomes] difficult to get out." This is one of those songs that engrains itself in your ears and becomes better with every listen.
The video, directed by Allison Johnston, is equally impressive. It features May in a splendid room and costume constructed entirely out of paper by visual director Roxanne Ignatius. May tells us, "The protagonist and space are initially shown as an impressionable blank slate that is later saturated and damaged by a mixture of internal and external events. The protagonist is always armoured with her artificial eyes (constructed by Ignatius) that keep her internal world within and protected." It's a cleverly simple idea that is visually stunning and highlights May's expressiveness.
Kira May, with her gooey, transcendent voice enhanced by its subtle and elastic vibrato, is hard to forget. She's a special force that stands out in the Toronto music scene, and I'm sure she will continue to do so beyond it.
Keep an eye out for her debut full-length Sense this spring.