Article Contributed by Big Hassle Media | Published on Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Today, psych-folk singer-songwriter Mariee Siou announces her self-produced, hypnotic EP Circle of Signs, due out April 28 and available for pre-order now. Alongside the announcement, Siou shares the first taste of the project, "Snake Hoop" out everywhere now with an accompanying stop motion music video. Plus, Mariee Siou has announced a string of dates on the West Coast this May, including Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA with Kacey Johansing and Portland, OR. See a full list of dates below and get tickets here.

Mariee Siou was raised on a farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills in the Yuba River watershed in Northern California. Born to a father in a bluegrass band, Siou was always surrounded by music and taught herself to play the guitar at 18 while volunteering at a school for Mapuche children in Patagonia. In 2007, she released her first studio album, Faces in the Rocks, on which she collaborated with Native American flautist Gentle Thunder and which achieved a dedicated cult following that would propel her career to this day. She began touring Europe, as well as North America, after being invited to open for the psych jam band Bright Black Morning Light on their nationwide tour that year, and later toured with Hope Sandoval, Mazzy Star in 2013 and extensively toured Europe and the US headlining and has opened for other acclaimed artists such as Joanna Newsom, Buffy Sainte Marie, Frank Black, and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.

The forthcoming EP, Circle of Signs, explores the grief that comes with the current, various political, cultural and environmental disasters. Over four poignant tracks, Siou reckons with living within a system that deepens inequality and accelerates the global climate emergency and through lyrics and song, offers a path toward healing and attempts to maintain hope of a brighter future.

Siou says the collection of songs is, "an expression of and an invitation to the grief and perplexing questions that must necessarily be faced in acknowledgment of our true selves in the face of our current catastrophic, cultural, political and environmental inheritances—grief as the portal into healing, and which is itself a subversive process in an industrial-capitalist-consumerist climate in which to love oneself is itself an act of subversion."

Through the EP, Siou speaks directly to the dire need in the modern world for us to reconnect with older and more honest ways of relating to ourselves; to our human and nonhuman kin; to the natural environmental cycles which sustain us and our extended Earth-family; and to the cultures, songs and lives that lie at the interface between all of these interwoven realities.

Circle of Signs was recorded in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in the spring of 2022 and was engineered by Oz Fritz (Tom Waits Mule Variations, Blood Money) and produced by Siou. The recordings on this EP are built around Mariee’s signature acoustic fingerpicking and voice, but with the introduction of soprano saxophone and various winds played by virtuoso Patrick McGee—creating a windscape: horns and flutes are interlaced with strong percussion, voice and guitars, creating space and cushioning for Mariee’s eco-mystic poetry to weave through and be given lift by.

"Snake Hoop," out today, was born out of an ayahuasca ceremony that led the artist to discover more of herself and a new understanding of life and death. During the ceremony, Siou explains, "I experienced walking the scales of the ouroboros and faced my own death. I felt and saw all the energy of creation as endless and eternal cycles and was overcome with a deep reassurance in that knowing. It seemed my spirit was smiling at the beauty and necessity of death for the existence of life, and had aligned with the light of the stars. After the ceremony, I went out into the early dawn, in the forest of the Sierra foothills, and began humming this melody in the breaking of a new day."

Delving into the sonic qualities of the track, Siou continues, "The song carries a cyclical, rhythmic sound that almost feels like a chant through a kind of ethereal, mythic-folk-rock, that brings in soft lilting qualities like flutes and tinkling piano played by Patrick Mcgee, that ebb and flow while high harmonies in the chorus dance through the hypnotic melody."

Lyrically, the track paints a vivid picture of both the more recent atrocities of racism in America, and its heinous history. Siou explains, "While the lyrics were written while George Floyd protests were raging around the world (“Been acquainted with apparitions in the night, hoods sewn from the gaunt waving stripes”), the track reflects on America’s haunting foundation of racism and slavery, the continued brutality to people of color in America today, and the cycles of violence and destruction also found within creation and thus humankind as well."

Watch "Snake Hoop" (Official Music Video)

Its accompanying stop-motion video, directed, filmed and edited by Chloe Becky, illustrates the track using handmade clay figures. Throughout the visual are references to mortality, time, death and rebirth using a miniatrure snake made from braided rope. Further explaining the thought and detail behind the video, Becky says “The imagery of the ouroboros or snake eating its tail is an ancient symbol of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The somewhat human character represents mortality and greets the snake with embrace and without fear." The director continues, "The bird-like character is in reference to the crow which many cultures believe represents the afterlife, destiny, or transformation. It turns the hour glass and pulls at the string of the mortal being’s fabric, unraveling them until its fibers are spread all around. To me, the song reminds us that death and life are one and the same.“

Since Siou's official, captivating debut album Face in The Rocks in 2007, the artist has continually captured the attention of several leading tastemakers. BrooklynVegan wrote about the debut, "It's a delicate, flute-filled psychedelic folk album with finger picked guitar and airy vocals recalling the work of rediscovered '60s/'70s artists like Vashti Bunyan and Linda Perhacs." They added about her 2012 effort Grief In Exile, "'Grief In Exile' will almost definitely appeal to fans of Mazzy Star and Joanna Newsom (and Marissa Nadler), and it's as consistently strong as just about anything she's done prior."

PopMatters lauded about the commanding singer-songwriter, "[Siou is] constantly rising to the challenge of making a holistically moving record." They continue, "Surface-level descriptions fall especially short with Mariee Siou, whose poetry is as much about performance as it is about music and lyrics. To listen to 'Grief in Exile' is to dream a lucid dream." Similarly, Bandcamp praised her poetic talent, "The power of Siou’s songs stems largely from her poetic know-how—glimmering prose uplifted by Siou’s multi-hued falsetto, and backed by gentle acoustic guitar."

Now, in 2023, Siou is ready to push boundaries yet again and expand her profound sonic world, building on nearly two decades of her meaningful, momentous artistry. The prolific singer-songwriter will perform live along the West Coast this May, including in Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA with Kacey Johansing and in Portland, OR. Grab tickets now here, see a full list of dates below, and stay tuned for additional shows to be announced.

Mariee Siou's ethereal "Snake Hoop," and its accompanying video is out everywhere now. Circle of Signs, the forthcoming riveting, self-produced EP by Mariee Siou is due out April 28 is available to pre-order now. See Siou live this May along the East Coast with tickets available now here. Connect with Mariee Siou on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and stay tuned for much more to come from the psych-folk musician.

Mariee Siou Live 2023

May 12 - Boulder Creek, CA - Lille Aaeske*

May 13 - Carpinteria, CA - Sweet Mountaintop Farm

May 14 - Los Angeles, CA - Ghengis Khan

May 19 - Berkeley, CA - Ashkenaz

May 21 - Nevada City, CA - Miner's Foundry

May 24 - Olympia, WA - New Traditions Fair Trade

May 25 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern w/ Kacey Johansing

May 26 - Portland, OR - The Old Church

*Solo set