Emika has got something very good going on here. A British born singer with
Czech roots, I have a feeling that she may well catch-on big-time if she
gets the exposure she deserves. From what I have been able to glean from her
biography she is a classically-trained musician currently hunkered down in
Berlin. Whether or not this goes some way toward explaining the dark and
exotic nature of her music is not for me to say but her brand of shadowy
electronica is both idiosyncratic and enervating. Her self-produced debut
impresses in more ways than one. There is clearly a keen musical intelligence
at work in these twelve striking compositions. Ms Emika has a clipped, breathy
vocal delivery which weaves in and out of the machines like a snake stalking
its next meal (this is a good thing by the way!) but what she lacks in vocal
technique she more than makes up for with her moody beats and richly conceived
arrangements. The album is infused with a sense of decadent brooding gravitas.
Opening track '3 Hours' sets the tone; a dance-friendly track which sizzles
with carefully restrained electricity and big swooping dirty bass accents.
The quasi-oriental thematic material of 'Common Exchange' is particularly
beguiling too, the central melody occasionally lost in a cleverly constructed
harmonic web of mutated vocal punctuation marks. 'Be My Guest' judders along
like an angry urban cougar, jaws salivating in the gutter, the high-pitched
twittering vocal inventions adding another layer of unsettling detail. 'Double
Edge' is one of the most satisfying compositions in the set, the martial
rhythmic structure framing one of Ms Emika's most vivid vocal performances.
So too 'Pretend', a stripped-down piece of melancholic nightmare which builds
by degrees to a cataclysmic conclusion. Stirring stuff! 'Drop The Other',
however, gets my vote for top track; a song to follow the beat of a troubled
heart but if you just want to jump up and down like a mad thing look no further
than 'Come Catch Me'! Play it loud and dance until the soles of your shoes melt!
Creatures of the night everywhere will be enchanted by this splendid first showing.
(Thanks to K - a marsupial of impeccable musical taste - for the hot tip!)