The DIY punk ethics of EMA (the outward persona of Erika M. Anderson) came to our attention in 2011 with her solo debut 'Past Life Martyred Saints', and before that as half of Gowns. Both worthy credits, but it is the upcoming second EMA album 'The Future's Void' which is currently offering a package of tantalizing glimpses of some emergent subculture in 2014.
Leaving the Norse mythology and inward reflection of 'Past Life Martyred Saints' behind, this new body of work deals with subject matters hinted at by the album's cover art (above) and track listing, poking at the impact of technology and invasive, immersive networks on the human psyche. To reflect this EMA has turned to a more electronic soundscape whilst retaining her previous grunge-like palette, but what is key to this album's success is the way Anderson has avoided the contrived clichés and psuedo-subculture of cyberpunk. Instead EMA has donned an Oculus Rift (a current open source virtual Reality development platform) and hints at having absorbed the work of authors including Willam Gibson and H. P. Lovecraft, with song titles 'Neuromancer' and 'Cthulu' respectively.
Instead of PVC clad code-warriors and neon pink cyberdoll fetishism there are Molly Soda animated .GIF avatars walking through hipster California in the video for 'So Blonde' (see below). “The smiling blonde white woman is the most exploited image in the world” said Erika M Anderson when asked to explain the track and video. “How many bits do we have to reduce the dancing blonde babe to before she is no longer a symbol of sexiness?"
The video's director Vice Cooler added, “In this part of California culture, real life and cartoons are a very blurry line. Luckily EMA presented an idea where we could run wild with this; making this whole video full with deep/shallow commentary on the obsessive and weird culture that we are a part of.”
It's the ability of EMA to be deep and shallow simultaneously that makes the album engaging and punk, taking irreverence seriously as she tackles some heavyweight content and injustices. The other triumph of this album is its nowness, documenting the present's style and content, where others dwell on past imaginings of the future. As William Gibson is often quoted, "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed."
The Future's Void is released via City Slang on 8th April. Full tracklisting below:
When She Comes
See EMA live this Spring/Summer at:
17.05 Aarhus, Denmark - Pop Revo Festival
18.05 Oslo, Norway - John Dee
19.05 Malmo, Sweden - Babel
21.05 Hamburg, Germany - Uebel & Gefährlich
22.05 Koln, Germany - Blue Shell
23.05 Berlin, Germany - Prince Charles
25.05 Padova, Italy - Macello
26.05 Rome, Italy - Circolo degli Artisti
27.05 Marina di Ravenna, Italy - Hana Bi
28.05 Zurich, Switzerland - Bogen
30.05 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
01.06 Gent, Belgium - DOK-Box
02.06 Paris, France - Le Point Ephemere
03.06 London, UK - The Garage
04.06 Manchester, UK - Deaf Institute
05.06 Leeds, UK - Brudnell Social Club
06.06 Bristol, UK - The Lantern
Find out more at www.thefuturesvoid.net