Friday, 24 January 2014

Track Review: EMA - Satellites

EMA (Erika M. Anderson) has been at the dynamic core of Western grrrl power since PJ Harvey's Rid of Me inspired a generation of female fronted punk outfits. Harvey’s model for pop songs with punk influences altered the way artists look and assess personal performance. Without Rid of Me, Cobain's sound wouldn’t be as raw, Love's artistry would be baseless, and EMA wouldn't be as appreciated sonically as she currently dominates the noise rock / pop ambience of releases. EMA shares the same "ugly" sound as Harvey's 93 classic, though EMA's influences spread far deeper and wider than a punk record of English heritage. But it's Rid of Me which unconsciously set the foundations for EMA's previous artist (though in a more melodic sense) Gowns.

"Satellites" explores the noise dynamics of industrial and archetypical vocal performances. It sounds like the product of a Nine Inch Nails collaboration featuring John Cale and Scott Walker as producer / conductor. The opening bass drones are other-worldly, something Walker would be proud to call his own - and EMA's vocals react to this seemingly claustrophobic, but actually spacious recording. The string work is again carried out by collaborator and back bench member Leif Shackelford, who really steps in to his own when playing with EMA. 

This is the birthplace of noise rock / pop's future. EMA's dystopian creation really takes the alternative norm for a ride on "Satellites". It's a powerful return with atmospheric strings and gritty basic hand clap percussion, smashing together to produce something more than just a typical EMA track. If this is anything to go by, The Future's Void will be even more conceptual than her previous album Past Life Martyred Saints – exciting times for the EMA consortium - something both Harvey and Albini woud be proud of.
~Eddie Gibson

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