Emancipator – Dusk to Dawn

Emancipator is back with his third album, and what an album it is. For Dusk to Dawn he made it apparent that this wasn’t a one man effort; with several inputs from a range of artists who bring a bring a nice, clean edge to all his tracks.

Right of the bat, we have Minor Cause of which a great music video has been produced featuring Emancipator himself. The violins and harmonising of all the instruments and voices make this one of the best tracks on the album. The combined talents of Ilya Goldberg, Jamie Janover, and Madeline Hawthorne with Emancipator have made a hauntingly, beautiful piece of music. I have been listening to Dusk to Dawn multiple times and I always replay this track a couple of times. Valhalla is a more familiar track, with its more sample based production, make for a technical sounding track. The fading voices make for a very atmospheric track combined with Ilya Goldberg’s violins make a good accompaniment for rural walks in mountain ranges!

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Merlion is a nice track with subtle changes that make it pique a listener’s interest. It contains the same sample as in Safe In The Steep Cliffs, although slows it down a bit. The beat is nice and relaxed with the same faded and softened style that the previous two tracks have given us. A Merlion is a half lion, half fish creature which is representative of Singapore. I feel like once I knew this I could hear influences of the mystical east in this song, particularly in the violin’s long and graceful notes. Outlaw is faded in with the repeated loop of the main melody; the beat is then led in. The heavenly sound of the twinkling samples and the addition of other instruments have made a fine track. This is the only track where Emancipator is the solo input for the entire piece, and it is just as piercing as the tracks with other collaborators.

The title track Dusk to Dawn is an elegant masterpiece.  From hearing the entire track I can see the most amount of production time has gone into this. From the intro we hear hip-hop influences with the flippin double effect that is prominent in a lot of hip-hop. But the way it is used is vastly different. From the intro we are thrown into samples of group voices and the guitar, mandolin of Derek Van Scoten. There is then a short break from the melody before Thacher Schmid comes in on the violin. What I respected was the poise of the Thacher Schmid on the violins and the balance of the instruments by Emancipator when the violin shifted to and from the melody to the backing. About three quarters of the way this all comes together as a nice medley before a piano segment from Doug Appling himself. Definitely a title worthy track.

This Way, has the same recurring sample with a nice set of percussion beats. It is a nice change to hear some live percussion (credit to Cedar Miller); this coupled with the saxophone skills of Dominic Lalli, show Emancipator has some great synergy and composition skills with these artists. The best part of the track is hand down the last minute but don’t let the build-up be lessened for this. Afterglow seems to be a more percussion based track with the drums taking the forefront with the crisp snares and bass kicks. The short softened blasts of the bass line pair great with Cedar Miller leaving the image of the fading glow of the sun at the end of the track.

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Eve II, is a track, I believe, that is named after the vocals that are done by Eve Grice. They follow the similarly faded, haunted feel of the Minor Cause but a lot simpler, I hear nu-jazz and dubstep elements especially with the synths and the bass-line being more prominent than previously. Natural Cause features Marcus Marino and Ilya Goldberg on the piano and violin respectively. From the intro we hear a nice intro consisting of the piano with the inclusion of a woodwind instrument with a nice drum roll snare pattern. Following this the piano dances lightly with the violins being passive and enlightening the track, really living up to its track title. Finally we have Galapagos, the island where Darwin visited before coming up with his theory of evolution. As soon as we track starts is though we are on this tropical island at the dawn of the day. With the rising cello notes and the atmospherical feel of the track this signals the end of the album and that music must always evolve to greater heights.

This album is a gem. This time and effort put in make this masterpiece it is cannot be understated. Go and buy it, download it or even listen to it on the bandcamp stream. Emancipator has done well with Dusk to Dawn and a credit to those who worked on this album with him, a spectacular listen.

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