So many projects, so many labels—it can be hard keeping tabs on EMG. The Berlin-based artist, real name Emanuele Giannini, doesn't sit still musically either, churning out gritty sound experiments one minute and jazzy workouts the next. Freedom, his debut solo EP for LiveJam Records, one of several labels he runs alongside his brother John Swing, gathers three peak-time cuts that hover between house and techno, each packed with the kind of tuneful hooks and organic sounds that are Giannini's signature.
There's a noisy, bullish quality to all three tracks, conveyed through harsh sounds that, in lesser hands, might have dominated the mix. Instead, musicality wins out. On "Music," a thickset house track with a snaking bassline, Giannini counters the stomp with a wonderful shimmering arpeggio, even if he does lean too heavily on the reverb. "Bright"'s centrepiece is a billowing foghorn synth that wobbles over dramatic choral pads and a snarling bassline. The elements hang together beautifully, sliding in and out of view as they subtly reduce or ramp up tension. "Turbine 888," my favourite track, is also the most raucous, its atmosphere like a protest turned ugly. Sirens and crazed synths heave to a slamming, unconventional rhythm. Like most records from the EMG/John Swing camp, a human touch shines through.