We were only recently introduced to Rian Hamilton aka pHoenix Pagliacci through her verse on the incredible “INTL Women’s Day Cypher” she released a few weeks ago with Keysha Freshh, Lex Leosis, and Haviah Mighty. (What an introduction!) But clearly, we’ve been missing out on one of Toronto‘s most original talents, and with her latest album Ars Amatoria, released back in February, she’s delivered one of the best records of the year.
Moving effortlessly back and forth from soulful R&B to spoken word poetry to dark electronic beats, it’s an eclectic, futuristic-but-timeless journey. And our conductor is quite the visionary, with Phoenix’s remarkable voice and incredibly catchy melodies rightfully center-stage throughout the record. Featuring several should-be smash hits like “B.A.F.” and “I Need You”, and punctuated by introspective poems recited over Art and Noise’s timeless “Moments in Love” beat, our favourite jam might be the ominous “Gossip Folk 2.0”, a stark, minimal electro-R&B track produced by LordQuest and Rich Kidd.
All told, Ars Amatoria is a virtuosic album that makes us think it’s only a matter of time before Phoenix Pagliacci hits superstardom. It’s available now from Bandcamp, PWYW.