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Emmy the Great - April

  by Zena Grieg

published: 26 / 11 / 2020



Emmy the Great - April
Label: Bella Union
Format: CD

intro

Reflective latest album from indie artist and multi-instrumentalist Emmy The Great, which was inspired by a visit to her childhood home in Hong Kong


The fourth album by the Hong Kong born, London-raised multi-instrumentalist songwriter Emma-Lee Moss (Emmy The Great) has just been released. The album is a snapshot of her views of her childhood home in Hong Kong in 2017 before the pro-democracy protests began in 2019. It focuses on impermanence, a search for identity and finding a sense of belonging. ‘April’ was recorded over two weeks in 2018 following a visit to her birth city for the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was then delayed to accommodate a year’s maternity leave following the birth of her daughter. Produced jointly by Emmy The Great, her fellow US Band member Dani Markham and Beatriz Artola (Fleet Foxes, Kendrick Lamar), the ten-track album draws on a range of styles. Cantonese vocals augment her lush Indie-pop sound; field recordings of Hong Kong traffic lights appear like drum machines; songs reverberate to the sound of singing bowls, prayer bells and Buddhist percussion, while lyrics resonate with the language of folk tales: “You once told me about the moon, and the first men to walk on her…. They were searching for a Chinese queen.” In ‘Chang-E’ East meets West with a clever link between the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landings and a childhood fable about a Chinese queen, who drinks the elixir of youth and ascends to the moon with a white rabbit. In contrast, the lead indie-pop single ‘Dandelions/Liminal’ is an upbeat track about letting go of the search for perfection: ”I’m not looking for straight lines/Think it could be the same/Come on let’s be dandelions/Scatter all over the place.” ‘Okinawa-Ubud’ is set to a melancholy string/xylophone instrumentation, which fades in and out, perfectly evoking the spirit of place. ‘April’ ends with the poetic ‘Heart Sutra’ with its jazz inflections, where Emmy The Great imagines herself with the birth of her daughter: "A tangerine in the summer breeze….A bud on a lemon tree" in the freedom of a new beginning. Evocative, at times quiet and understated, at times theatrical, this carefully crafted album captures the atmosphere of strikingly different worlds. More acoustic than her preceding work, ‘April’ marks a new intriguing turning in the musical exploration of this multi-talented musician.



Track Listing:-
1 Mid-Autumn
2 Writer
3 Dandelions/Liminal
4 Chang-E
5 A Window/O'Keeffe
6 Okinawa/Ubud
7 Your Hallucinations
8 Mary
9 Hollywood Road/April
10 Heart Sutra



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live reviews


ICA, London, 10/11/2008
Emmy the Great - ICA, London, 10/11/2008
Laura Holt watches Emmy the Great play an entrancing set of lyrical-based anti-folk pop at a homecoming gig at the end of a short tour at the London ICA
Bodega, Nottingham, 7/10/2008


digital downloads




reviews


First Love (2009)
Assured, bittersweet debut album from Emmy the Great, the project of British acoustic singer-songwriter Emma-Lee Moss
We Almost Had a Baby (2008)


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