- The London-based artist has made one of 2020's most compelling albums.
- Indigo Dream, by the London-based composer and producer E.M.M.A., could make you feel nostalgic for something you've never personally experienced. It may be the flashes of '80s atmospherics, the melodic links to E.M.M.A.'s clubbier past work, or simply her flair for sensitive, soundtrack-worthy compositions. It could also be the album's overarching narrative, which aims to explore "the fluid nature of a dream" while creating space for divine feminine energy to thrive. Whatever it is, it makes for a truly transportive listen, its nine tracks coursing through the senses and quelling a noisy mind, offering a sort of healing sonic sanctuary akin to rejuvenating night's rest.
Released via Local Action, Indigo Dream arrives seven years on from E.M.M.A.'s debut LP, Blue Gardens. It sees her drawing from a palette she's been honing for some time now. Yet, as artists of any kind often discover, there comes a time to switch out your tools, or at least add in some shiny new ones picked up while exploring new paths. For E.M.M.A., in recent years she's stepped into the high fashion world to soundtrack campaigns for the likes of Gucci and Chanel, scored a string of short films and launched her own label, Pastel Prism, alongside her free production workshop series, Producergirls.
Indigo Dream's goosebump-inducing synths, whimsical melodies and more classical leanings are in keeping with E.M.M.A's late-'10s output. Her ear for UK sounds has evolved with the times; much of the drum work here is closer to something like drill than grime, for example. The album's cinematic links are lightheartedly referenced in titles like "Ryan Gosling In Space."
Pairs and trios of tracks fuse together into chapters of sorts. "Shell," "Echo" and "Gold," are more climatic, and perhaps more closely linked to E.M.M.A's early work than other tracks. E.M.M.A. has always been a storyteller, the kind who can tie different influences together in a colourful bow. Here, she's composed a subtle album with just the right amount of drama.
01. Into Indigo
05. Ryan Gosling In Space
09. Ballad Of Janet