Release Date: Aug 20, 2013
Record label: Keysound Recordings
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Keysound's crew of artists have been some of the most exciting to come out of the UK in a while, and their power comes mainly from the snapping jaws of their rhythms. E.m.m.a., who is another newcomer to the label’s ballooning roster, brings some much needed melody to the gang. On her debut album, Blue Gardens, she mixes the roughneck appeal of UK funky's halcyon days with whimsical melodies that trill like old video games.
Not too much is known about E.M.M.A save for her brief association with Sully, her contribution to Keysound’s This is How We Roll compilation, her 2012 debut release Rainbow Dust part II—the first record out on the label arm of London party crew Wavey Tones—and, of course, Jahovia, her recent 7” (and release full stop) on Dusk & Blackdown’s Keysound imprint. Blue Gardens sees the London-via-Liverpool producer add a feminine, almost “purple” twist to the dark, dread-infused 130bpm bass canon championed so thoroughly by Keysound and co. so far this year.
I've always been fond of the notion that music, to some extent, reflects its surroundings. In the past, commentators on grime have drawn parallels between its vertically packed, claustrophobic rhythmic clatter and its East London tower block origins - something Dan Hancox explores further in his thoroughly recommended new e-book Stand Up Tall: Dizzee Rascal & The Birth Of Grime, while discussing the impact upon Bow-based early grime artists of growing up beneath Canary Wharf's ever-watchful gaze, and asking how that visual influence might have inspired the genre's futuristic melodic architectures. So, then, where on earth does the knackered grime of E.
Sometimes I come across a record that is particularly challenging for me, and recently this has come in the form of Blue Gardens, the eagerly anticipated debut album from E.M.M.A. on Dusk and Blackdown’s Keysound label. What should be acknowledged before anything else is that Blue Gardens is a very well written album, and that her fans won’t be disappointed.