Emika releases her self-titled debut 'Emika' on Ninja Tunes. Born in UK but from Czech heritage she has spent much of her time exploring sound in Bristol. She currently lives in Berlin, fitting for an experimental artist who wants to push the boundaries of sound and voice. Indeed her debut is a dark brooding electronic soundscape that reminds me of many prolific artists from Bristol like Tricky and Portishead.
Music is so diverse these days and there's so much opportunity to push boundaries with recent technology that I have admire Emika's debut for. She is indeed experimenting with electronic music and voice dexterity that creates a compelling mix on this album, however it's certainly will not appeal to everyone. There are some nice dubstep influences, certainly from the Burial school of thought, that creates some deep sub base sounds on some parts of the album and 'Be My Guest' is pure dubstep. 'Emika' starts softer but gets more brooding and darker, although ends with a piano piece. The fusion of experimental sounds, piano and Emika's haunting and angelic voice, mixed with original compositions is aurally challenging to say the least. It's classical to the sublime, with loads in between.
It's a difficult one for me to pass judgement on Emika's debut as maybe I'm unqualified to give a fair critique on this type of music or maybe I'm too old for this kind of sound. I cannot deny the originality or uniqueness of what she's doing and Emika keeps you guessing all the way through, however it does get a bit too much, although there were some definite highlights. 'Emika' is edgy and unnerving with a dark sense of looming techno aplomb and possibly Emika may well be the new Portishead for the youth? What's missing from 'Emika' is that sense of soul and song structure I got from Portishead but possibly music has moved on. Challenging stuff!