Review: The world has been a less interesting place since gothy one woman-band Emika disappeared to record a follow-up to her beguiling eponymous debut album. The new LP, DVA, is due in June, and judging by this three-track teaser, it's looking good. "Searching" features a simple samba style beat, spectral synth work and her unique multi-tracked vocal delivery. "She Beats" is moodier, with fuzzed out electro arpeggiations, ghostly vocals...basically pretty haunted sounding stuff. Finally "Sing To Me" is downbeat lush melancholia that betrays her classical training. Great to have her back.
Review: Fresh from her recent collaboration with Marcel Dettmann, Berlin-based British basshead Emika strikes out on her own once more. Having spent much of the last few years working with Ninja Tune, this bonus single is appearing on her own Emika Records imprint. It's something of a gem, too; an exploration of melodious, bittersweet dancefloor pastures in two parts. It pits foreboding Michigan bass, bubbling electronics, sampled vocal harmonies and shimmering synths against a rhythm track built around ghetto-tech style drum machine handclaps and filtered kicks. Choose between the life-affirming, heart-aching swing of "Melancholia Euphoria A" and "Melancholia Euphoria B", a yearning, twinkling rework that makes great use of ascending piano scales and post-classical arrangements.
Review: Back with her third single on Ninja Tune, Emika continues to impress on this exclusive Juno release. Her original of "Count Backwards" is an adventurous, smoky and sinister modern trip-hop song that recalls both Kate Bush and Skream at the same time! Kryptic Minds' mix takes the logical route of beefing up the bass even more, really pushing some thick subs into the echoey spaces, while Berghain don Marcel Dettmann goes the other way by double-timing the beat into a fast and scary techno joyride.
Review: The icy demeanour of Emika's music finds another outlet with this single, and once again her deadpan vocals hover amidst ominous surroundings. Both original tracks have their own unique slant on contemporary beats, while the textures and melodies exude a Tim Burton kind of darkness. It's a seductive take on pop music that deserves a huge audience but would undoubtedly scare them off. On remix duties, Brandt Brauer Frick opt for a tracky 4/4 workout, while Kyle Hall omits the bass from his skippy effort. DJ Rashad and DJ BMT smack it hard with a footwork stomper that shows what the genre can do with interesting sound sources.
Review: With an interesting career already behind her, Emika steps up with her debut album for Ninja Tune. It's a canny mixture of pitch-black pop, bass and dead-pan vocals that draws its influences from the melee of contemporary beats. There's no doubt that the music is produced immaculately, full of detail, neatly balanced, and loaded with atmospherics. Emika's vocal delivery is a chilly one, and pop music was never meant to be weathered by the warmth of the real world. Ultimately, she has succeeded in crafting an album that is undeniably her own - highly recommended.
Review: Reactions to the news that Marcel Fengler was going to mix Berghain 05 focused on the fact that he is the club's most overlooked resident. This is to do Fengler a disservice and to understand the club in the narrowest context possible. If anything, the trajectory Fengler follows here defines the broad brush strokes played out in the Berlin club. There's the eerie intro which moves from Dettmann's vocal version of Emika's "Count Backwards" into Peter Van Hoesen's spacey, bleeping "Axis Mundi". Classic sounds always form an integral part of Fengler's approach and this is evident on Octogen's widescreen yet menacing electro reshape of Terrence Dixon, the wiry 90s minimalism of Ratio and in the alternate version of Secret Cinema's chord-heavy early 90s classic "Timeless Altitude". In between these sounds, Fengler proves his technical prowess, moving effortlessly from the drones and broken beats of Dr Walker's take on Byteone and the Regis version of Tommy Four Seven's "G" into straighter, albeit bass-heavy techno and house from Duplex - remixing Gerd- and LB Dub Corp, who delivers a new, multi-layered take on Fengler's own "Thwack". Put simply, Fengler has that rare talent that most DJs lack - he can put together seemingly disparate tracks without losing the flow. The club he resides at provides Fengler with a blank canvas and this mix is his masterpiece.