emulsion: elephant shrews don’t nag you

An emulsion is a mixture of usually immiscible liquids (for example oil and water). Something that holds these substances together is called an emulsifier. Apply these principles to music, and you might end up with something like the band Emulsion (they don’t like using the capital “E” but this is my web site and as far as is humanly possible we use grammar here).

On Elephant Shrews Don’t Nag You, opening track Flyingdutchman lays out the substances for today’s experiment, setting up a clatter of electronic beats as a backdrop for the harsh, scratchy guitar that defines the album’s sound. Second track, The Last Blink of F, follows it up by stepping down to a simpler, less busy dance beat, the same scratchy guitar, and an off-key, new wave melody that occasionally disintegrates into postpunk discord. Insofar as there is an emulsifying agent for all this, it’s the group’s two members themselves, controlling the disparate elements’ phase shifts between the harmonic and discordant, rhythmic and arrhythmic. It’s clearly music that doesn’t like to be categorised, but there are enough of particles of postrock suspended in it that that genre makes good sense as a starting point when listening to the four tracks that make up the CD edition. It’s also energetic and fun in a way that clever music like this often fails to be, so well worth spending a bit of time with.

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1 Comment

Filed under Albums, Reviews

One response to “emulsion: elephant shrews don’t nag you

  1. Great stuff! I and three other composers tried to do something very like this in 1980–crossing Anton Webern with Bartok and sending him off to hit the new wave charts with a band. One of our members even prototyped a drum machine *from scratch*, because all of the drummers we auditioned 1) hated us and 2) couldn’t play the weird meters. We didn’t come close to realizing the vision, but if emulsion added a David Byrne-esque singer and some B-52-ripoff lyrics, that would be it exactly.

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