2013 has gotten off to a rather slow start as far as albums that have been of any interest to me. I've scoured the new release lists weekly in January but have come up with little but disappointment when it comes to anything I've checked out. Leave it to Emancipator to turn things around. As soon as I saw a new album set for late January from the electronic music master, I knew the month would have at least one solid release.
It's that reason, consistency, that keeps me coming back to the music of Emancipator. The stage name of Portland, Oregon's Douglas Appling, you pretty much know what you're going to get with his music. Gorgeous, downtempo electronic, often over-layed with hip-hop beats, but Appling's music has grown more organic with each release. Dusk To Dawn, the third Emancipator full length, is drenched in the lovely violin work of Ilya Goldberg but also features mandolin, cello, even saxophone, in addition to Appling's work on numerous instruments. It all combines to make a compelling listen, perfect for the Michigan winter we are now buried deep in. In fact, it wasn't until driving around with Dusk To Dawn in the car CD player for a few days that its beauty truly clicked with me.
There is a lot to love here, but the acoustic guitar heavy title track is among the stand-outs. "The Way" features sampled vocals and prominent sax by Dominic Lalli while "Natural Cause" rides on the blissful piano work of Marcus Marino. "Afterglow" epitomizes the wintry feel of Emancipator's music with haunting keyboards and ethereal, ambient backing. "Minor Cause", the first video to be released from the album, is my personal favorite. It is everything I love about Appling's work summed up in a little over five minutes. The chilled out vibe, the dazzling violin, such a beautiful melody, downtempo electronic music simply doesn't get much better than this.
Favorite Tracks: "Minor Cause", "Natural Cause", "Dusk To Dawn", "Afterglow"
Dusk To Dawn was released as a digital download only, January 29, 2013 on Emancipator's own Loci Records. A physical release is expected in the near future.