We can all see how technology is changing our lives (for better or for worse—I’m looking at you, trolls), but for some reason the music world has been slow on the uptake; songs addressing technology are few and far between.
Erika M. Anderson, better known by her stage name EMA, is changing that with her new album The Future’s Void. Clash Music (clashmusic.com) has described her work as both “genre-busting” and “gnomic” (not sure what they meant with that one. But apparently her work is “of, pertaining to, or resembling a gnome.”) Wikipedia, on the other hand, describes the genre of her work as noise-folk/rock. In listening to her new album, you can definitely feel the post-industrial vibe, a fusion of experimentalism and electronica—the perfect background for a discussion of “the future’s void.”
The new album has created a lot of buzz for musicalizing the digital themes that define our age, using DIY technology such as a homemade LED light board and digitally distorted analog instruments in both recordings and performances. One of her songs includes the lyric “[I] feel like I blew my soul out across the interweb”—I’m with her on that one! Who hasn’t overshared on Facebook in a moment of angst? It’s a perennial problem in our increasingly technology-steeped lives.
While EMA’s last record, Past Life Martyred Saints, touched upon themes of drug use, self-harm, shootings, and domestic violence, her new album deals a bit more in the mainstream experience. She "didn't set out to make a topical album about the internet and technology” she stated in an interview with The Creators Project “It felt really taboo and weird and I felt embarrassed about it... It's kind of weird to use this Internet language in songs. But then I realized that if I was having an actual reaction to it, then others would too.” The album captures something authentic about the emotional post-post-modern experience and delivers it to our eardrums cloaked in strong vocals and striking techno-sounds. Listening to it opens a window into how one woman is sorting through of the myriad of cultural influences that the “interweb” has opened up to us.
Images courtesy of opb.org, thefuturesvoid.net, and mindequalsblown.net.