- One of the only things you can expect of an Avalon Emerson record is that it'll sound nothing like the last. Since the soulful warehouse smack of 2014's Pressure / Quoi, she's turned out Afrobeat-inspired tracks ("Church Of SoMa"), Culture Club-sampling techno ("Let Me Love & Steal"), industrial-gilded 4/4 ("Sword And Rose Forever") and childhood-inspired odes to desert landscapes (Whities 006). "I make what I like," Emerson told XLR8R last year, "and I think it still ends up sounding like me, whether or not it makes it harder for promoters to be able to put me into a genre box." Her latest EP, Narcissus In Retrograde, surfs the spectrum of her tastes in slamming dance tracks.
"Natural Impasse" gets some mileage out of its Head High-ish boom and thick synth flares, and "Dystopian Daddy"'s harmonic chords are a nice foil for its aerobic arpeggio. Both tracks have a Kompakt-esque sweetness, but the arrangements have less of the emotional magnetism in Emerson's best material. With simpler ideas at their centre, the B-side's percussive tracks soar. The industrial monochrome of "Why Does It Hurt," the EP's highlight, presses a squelchy bass synth onto satisfying pressure points. "Groundwater," a more muscular techno track, may not hit those points quite as often, but its rolling hand drums, buzzy synths and jet engine trails are a strong finish.
A1 Natural Impasse
A2 Dystopian Daddy
B1 Why Does It Hurt