There’s something definitely unique and exciting about Emika and her self-titled debut album. Based in Berlin, her influences span from the native house and techno to Bristol-infused Dubstep (she attended the initial nights organised by Tectonic boss Pinch, and has also worked with the legend). All tracks resonate with themes of alienation and genuine melancholia and isolation, something difficult to pull off regardless of genre. Despite this, it’s the beauty found hidden inside these over-arching themes that really makes Emika’s debut a triumph. Touching upon other artists, Emika is nevertheless original and unique, drawing upon a range of influences and reinforced by some impeccable production values, and is something that will appeal to a wide range of people.
Opening track ‘3 Hours’ opens things aptly, a rigid tempo reinforced with deep bass lines and haunting, ethereal vocals. The muted nature of the track builds and, with layered vocals and a shuddering richness to it. This gives us an introduction to the beauty of Emika’s voice, something that transcends a wide range of feelings and emotions. Throughout the album, wispy and seductive can transform into deep and menacing in an instant, something that is quite essential to the theme and feeling it emits.
‘Common Exchange’ gives you a few seconds to recuperate yourself before throwing you straight into a headsnapping beat. It’s uncompromising, something which pervades throughout the album. The touches and trills that make up the track are perfect examples of the production overall, with Emika’s classical training apparent towards the end with a haunting piano outro. ‘Professional Loving’ draws in a dreary landscape, with downtrodden lyrics and captures the essence of the album. The influence of dubstep is apparent throughout, a sound that harks back to its original essence and creation, something that Emika has taken here and worked with wonderfully.
‘The Long Goodbye’ wails and whines out, Emika’s voice solemn and almost bereft of emotion, while the synth work is some of the best on the album. ‘FM Attention’ switches things up a little, taking more unconventional structure. The atmosphere that Emika layers up here, all the sharp, metallic edges, scratching, sandpaper synths and glitchy beats isn’t unlike a modified horror film soundtrack.
‘Drop the Other’ showcases off Emika’s traditional song writing skills yet again, shifting into a more melodic zone yet still maintaining a distinct electronic edge. Unpredictability is the name of the game, with layers and textures dense and plentiful throughout the album, and it definitely falls into the multiple, multiple listens bracket to get everything out of it. ‘Credit Theme’ closes affairs, the minimalistic aspects of it more than made up for in it’s raw feeling and energy.
Emika’s debut is incredibly strong and consistent in it’s approach. It takes something and builds and expands it, drawing upon an influence while still maintaining a strong sense of personal identity and originality, and Emika herself seems wise beyond her years. You won’t be done with this for a while, and it’s something that you can continue to come back to for some time