- This is the most recent of Emika's run-up singles to her first album Emika, which will be released in October. It points squarely towards a captivating debut, as both "Pretend" and "Professional Loving" are haunting and beautiful. In "Pretend," her vocals are sharp and brittle, hanging frozen in mid-air, as whooping synths wash over in a building cataclysm. "Professional Loving," meanwhile, is a song about "the way in which the music industry uses friendship as a form of control." It has the kind of spidery claustrophobia that Portishead stood for 20 years ago, but it's brought up to date—an interpolation between their sound and contemporary dubstep. The subbass is distorted, slow and massive; the piano and the desperate vocals are morose and isolated.
As with her previous three singles, the remixers are not to be sniffed at. On paper, anyway. Here, they all do largely what's expected of them, but not too much more. Sparks of inspiration lie in the way BBF's snappy remix builds, or in the rough collage of vintage sounds in Kyle Hall's remix, or in the way respected Chicagoans Rashad and BMT present an eyebrow-raising proposition of Gothic footwork. They stop short of turning the tracks into something their own, though. One for the originals.
02. Pretend (Brandt Bauer Frick Rework)
03. Pretend (Kyle Hall Remix)
04. Professional Loving
05. Professional Loving (DJ Rashad & DJ BMT Remix)