EMIKA: Emika (Ninja Tune)


Posted on Oct 7th 2011 01:03 am

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Emika: Emika

Ninja Tune 2011
12 Tracks. 47mins38secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Forget the overhyped divas who spend more time parading in high heels wherever they can get their picture taken than they do creating records that are utterly unique and fresh, real innovative twenty-first century pop music is to be found with the likes of Ema ‘Emika’ Jolly, a British-born songstress of Czech extraction who currently lives in Berlin who, in the space of a handful of rather excellent singles released over the course of the last year, has made a strong mark on the underground electronic scene. Signed to Ninja Tune, she came to attention when her second single, the particularly haunting and stellar Double Edge was included on the label’s massive twentieth anniversary collection. Following on from two further singles this year, it is now time for Emika to step up and propose her debut album.

Tightly blending elements of electronica, dubstep and techno together, Emika creates here a particularly pertinent modern urban soundtrack, propelled by ground-shaking grooves and incisive electronics to serve bitter sweet melodies and lyrics.

The album opens with the motorik 3 Hours. Acidulated voice, dreamy melodies, razor-sharp beats, devastating bass lines and minimal keyboard washes, everything here is about creating an atmosphere which can stand on its own, yet work equally as backdrop for her miniature story. This very much sets the template for the rest of the record, yet Emika approaches it from a variety of angles throughout. These are not pop songs which have been painfully shoe-horned to fit their electronic settings but rather songs which have been conceived as complete entities from the start, sounds, words, vocals are all individual parts of a much greater whole.

Her phrasing is often as minimal as her instrumentation. At times, words barely break the surface or are left hanging between silences, sentences are purposely cut up and split into disjointed fragments or distorted and bent out of shape to be used as mere components. Emika carves deliciously sweet little pop songs and dips them in acid. Professional Loving, Double Edge or The Long Goodbye can appear pretty gentle and almost ethereal at first, but the stark undercurrents which scar them deep within soon reveal a much bleaker outlook. Equally, heavier pieces display more or less permanent signs of rampant tension and paranoia; the pounding beat on Common Exchange or Pretend, cutting synth motifs of Be My Guest or hyperactive rhythmic patterns of FM Attention are as many intense electroshocks and are not without recalling some of Various Production’s stressed out soundscapes.

But there always is a flip-side with Emika as she tempers her weighty electronics and beats with delicate piano touches (Common Exchange, Professional Loving, Double Edge, Drop The Other, Credit Theme) which betray her classical training, adding lush keyboard washes and weaving extremely delicate and complex textures. She constantly plays dark against light and density against sparsity, and this is very much part of the success of this whole album. Despite its relative diversity, there is a strong sense of aesthetic, unity and coherence throughout which binds the whole work together. In turn sombre and oppressive or celestial and dreamy, Emika is above all consistently infectious and imaginative.


Emika | Emika (MySpace) | Ninja Tune
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (3)

3 Responses to “EMIKA: Emika (Ninja Tune)”

  1. […] length LP was released earlier this month via Coldcut‘s legendary record label Ninja Tune, to rave reviews thus far.  If you want to hear the album, she’s put up a half hour mix showcasing the tracks […]

  2. THE 2011 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 22 Dec 2011 at 1:12 pm

    […] Emika Ninja […]

  3. Davidon 22 Mar 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Check this out; you can get Emika to play in a UK city of your choice, all info here: http://detourjam.com/emika