Album Reviews, Culture, Dance / Electro — August 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Emika – Emika

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Artist Name: Emika
Title Name: Emika
Label: Ninja Tune
Reviewed by: Rory O’Maley

If you measure music by its ability to pull the audience into an artist’s world, then Emika’s self titled debut is a must for your listen list. Straight from the dark heart of Berlin, the stony faced Czech paints a startlingly intimate portrait, the type of intimacy that both excites and makes you feel more than a little uncomfortable. The album’s raw industrial samples and instrumentation give the music a basic quality while Emika’s own smooth, spiteful voice floats through the mix creating a sticking point for the cold components. Contrary to the usual use of an industrial style, however, Emika manages to keep the tracks impressively in check, never letting them get too big for their boots.

More impressive still is the Czechoslovakian’s non-chalant ability to match sounds. As every song progresses, Emika flicks perfect harmonies and sudden u-turns in and out of the mix, seemingly without a second thought. These changes never break the flow of the music, and tend to leave just as quickly as they arrive, rarely staying long enough to completely satisfy. This tease of completion coupled with her restraint results in moments where a four note loop can sound like a whole while  a hundred layers can leave the audience gagging for that little bit more to tip them over the edge.

Beautiful production aside, the album manages to stay topical, keeping the one overarching theme and style with enough variance to never become dull. From her emotionless face on the cover to the slow, evolving drones of the music, the album is a trip through Emika’s own character, fictional or otherwise. The album’s themes of prostitution, pain and loss reverberate through Emika’s cold eyes as she stares blankly at you from the cover and it almost feels like you’re being told something you shouldn’t know.

The album isn’t for everyone and it certainly isn’t a dancefloor banger. Those who like a darker tone to their beats or just a good dose of melodrama, however, would do well grabbing a copy and getting themselves quickly to a good sound system.

 

Standout Tracks: “Common Exchange”, “Double Edge”, “Professional Loving”

 

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