Emika’s status as one of the most captivating, innovative and ambitious artists in electronic music is cemented further with the release of her new album ‘DREI’ – one of two LPs the Berlin-based, Anglo-Czech talent is releasing in 2015, and her fourth in as many years.
With a musical vision that’s equal parts Blondie and Kraftwerk, romance and sci-fi, her two albums with Ninja Tune ‘Emika’ and ‘DVA’ garnered widespread praise and marked her out as one of the most exciting names amidst the new generation of DIY artists. Producing, singing, songwriting, performing live and curating her visuals, she is an artist truly in charge of her own destiny. Along the way she’s landed an iTunes No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 in the USA with her stunning cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, been sampled by The Weeknd on his track Professional and had her compositions used by McLaren, Gucci and Paramount Pictures (for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). Her performances continue to grow in stature, having wowed crowds across the world from Russia to Madiera, China to the US and all across Europe – and making for a memorable Boiler Room session.
After her eponymous debut’s tense fusion of her native Bristol bass and her new home’s techno heritage and the bristling frustration of the much lauded, uncompromising follow-up DVA, DREI embodies the sound of an artist now truly comfortable in her own skin. Released via her own imprint Emika Records, the album was written in just two weeks and completely written, performed, produced and mixed by Emika herself. It’s the product of a flurry of creative energy which saw her embrace Ableton, learn to DJ, compose a symphony for a 70-piece orchestra and set up the new label.
“I called it ‘DREI’ because it’s all made and conceived in Berlin with no outward facing concepts this time” she explains. “It’s my life as it stands now with my feet on the ground here. ‘DREI’ is ultimately about freedom. Coping with freedom. Limitations vs Freedom. The shock of a miracle. The madness of being alone. Ambitions and insecurities. The perils of a limitless creative mind. And without a doubt, my desire to produce fat hard beats without needing anyone – complete with a fresh sound.”
She is a songwriter who wears her heart on her sleeve, with deeply personal sentiments imbuing her brooding, expansive soundscapes throughout this record. “Battles… each one I win… still losing the war” she begins, making her independent agenda clear from the off. My Heart Bleeds Melody channels electroclash era rapid-fire bass and syncopated beats amidst soaring synths, before she pitches her voice down on the vampish Miracles to duet with herself in haunting fashion.
What’s The Cure sees her explore the honeyed upper reaches of her register – Emika cast as pop seductress – while Without Expression softens the textures and intensity by way of delicate guitars and her most sensual delivery on this record. Rache (Revenge) provides a stark contrast next, all foreboding sounds and dark vocals, Serious Trouble invokes classic R&B sorrow and closer Destiny Killer finishes with dubbed out, yearning strains and eerie piano chords that point a finger towards her recently released Klavirni record.
The intricate, deft production flourishes that flow through the album and the breadth of moods showcased point illustrate a fully-fledged artist with a level of accomplishment beyond her years.
While her range of skills in all musical departments could surely see her help shape the sound of other artists, right now it’s all about Emika’s own single-minded vision. And on the evidence presented across this dramatic, engrossing record, that’s a path she’s fully justified in pursuing.