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A Magazine for Sheffield

Blue Gardens

Blend a progression of bass and beats together with fascinating chunks of Baroque intonation and you have the signature sound of Keysound’s newcomer, E.m.m.a.

Stemming from making elementary grime on Fruity Loops combined with her fondness of US hip hop, the self confessed ‘Victorian grime’ London-via-Merseyside producer has created something short of a musical pigeonhole. The debut album Blue Gardens is an 11-track time capsule of provoked electronic sounds. The intro is a demonstration of E.m.m.a.’s ingenuity when it comes to throwing together what can only be described as a tinny horror movie soundtrack. ‘Marina’, ‘Shoot the Curl’ and ‘Mood Ring’ are all expertly crafted using pads layered through tricky synths and those eerie Victorian piano lines.

After noticing how bass music can often be deprived of a much needed melody, ‘Cherry Favour’ is E.m.m.a’s answer to what was previously lacking. A scattering of tracks possess a grittier feel, with the likes of ‘Green Light’, ‘At Sea’ and the risky ‘Dream Phone VIP’ demonstrating a baffling 130bpm production style and the type of disproportion and melancholy you’d expect from powerhouse duo Crystal Castles.

One of the more obvious dub-influenced tracks comes in the form of collaboration with Rebel MC, ‘Jahovia’, with its fitting Rusko sample and tempo experimentation. My particular favourite is ‘Nostrum’ featuring Sully - 4 minutes and 26 seconds of hypnotic reverb. Confusion only really strikes in the outro, a piece of music that I imagine would sit perfectly over a ‘Children of Paradise’ sketch with its accordion melody and bizarre sea gull outbursts.

I hear the obvious influence of Skream and Zomby throughout Blue Gardens, but her extensive knowledge and savvy experimentation with many genres is all but apparent. Nevertheless the use of exotic samples alarms me slightly. It’s not the type of music you’d expect to hear in a club. I suggest someone get Hans Zimmer on the blower though - E.m.m.a. definitely has the flare and ability to make some epic horror movie spine chillers.