Matt Emery – ‘Empire’ album review

Matt Emery album Empire Injazero Records Bandcamp new music review classical

It’s been a long time in the making, but Matt Emery, one of our favourite people (and an incredibly talented musician to boot) has now released his debut album ‘Empire’. Available via Injazero Records, it’s been released on vinyl and via Bandcamp and is full of compositions that fall somewhere between post-rock songs and classical pieces.

The title track opens the album with bursts of ambient piano that are soon joined by initially restrained strings. As the song builds up with effects, these strings become increasingly prominent – but the piano always remains at the forefront. Following this is ‘Orpheus’, a piece that opens with distorted and disturbing cello. After a short time, high-pitched strings are added providing a beautiful contrast in tone. It’s the kind of thing you could imagine showing up as the score on a Darren Aronofsky film but then an unexpected breakdown takes it off in an unexpected – but entirely welcome – Talons-esque direction.

One of the longest tracks on the record, ‘Loulodia’ has a wistful and nostalgic feel yet still remains rooted in avant-garde territory, as does ‘Effervescent’. With its glacial feel and layered pianos, it reminds us of composers like Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter and Nils Frahm but with the grandiose elements of Spiritualized when they went orchestral. All of the pieces are hugely emotive, but perhaps none more so than ‘L for Luna’ which is dark, mysterious and altogether more brooding – before picking up the pace and heading off in a math-rock direction

As well as the modern ambient musicians, the cinematic nature of this album brings to mind many classic film composers ranging from Ennio Morricone to Michael Giacchino. ‘Brushstrokes’ is the longest song on the album and it will get inside your head. It starts off refined and delicate but then it evolves into something far more intense. ‘Blossom’ is the most traditionally straightforward song and it has a playful pop feel throughout. As its title indicates, it’s a song that would be the perfect soundtrack to the start of spring – when the weather brightens up and everyone starts to cheer up. Its big, grand and orchestral nature will make you smile. This is followed by album closer ‘Oshima’, which is more downbeat and introspective to start. It gathers pace around the 1-minute, 20-second mark and then heads towards a grand crescendo – complete with electronic glitches, piano and cello notes.

This is a record to immerse yourself in… Plug in your headphones and embrace ‘Empire’.

Read our review of ‘Empire’ here.

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