Coming up very soon on Sunday, January 27th at 8:00 p.m. is downtempo, electronica, and trip-hop producer Emancipator featuring Beatkid and Elliot Lip. It’s going to be a different sort of Westcott electronic show, as Emancipator brings a whole different sort of vibe to the theater. If you’re used to the hardcore dubstep and electro sound, Emancipator is a welcomed departure. His work is far more atmospheric, mood-altering, and inspiring but grounded in a hip-hop sampling as well as breakbeats. Definitely more than worth the modest $15 ticket price.
Emancipator is the Portland, Oregon-based Douglass Appling, a “trip hop” producer who has quietly carved out his own lane in a crowded electronic music world. Way back in 2008, just two years after starting his career at 19, he was featured in Rolling Stone Japan. Aside from his three albums and upcoming Dusk to Dawn, Appling has produced soundtracks for a few indie documentaries. He even launched his own label called Loci Records in November 2012 and will release the new album through the new label. It’s a very DIY project and one filled with a passion and beauty, which is evident in literally every song he’s done. There’s an attention to absolutely tiny details and an extremely creative approach to sampling. Most of his early work was very quiet and almost spiritual (a la Moby), blending subtle female choir-esque samples, stunning melodies, and driving breakbeats. The mastering and mixing on even his earliest album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough (2006), is incredible. Soon is among my favorite trip hop albums.
2010′s Safe In The Steep Cliffs is very similar but shows a major creative and artistic growth. The music is similarly chilled out but far more complex, layered, and melodic. The second album also introduces more guitar. I say this but it’s quite easy to listen straight through both albums and not be able to pick out which is newest. There’s a level of consistency with Emancipator that never quite crosses into monotony or sameness. All of his work exudes hope, inspiration, and a vaguely mysterious, Zen-like calm. It puts you in a sonic forest of transcendental melody with the right amount of drums and bass to balance the mix. There’s also a very inexplicable feeling of “wilderness” in the music, which you’ll have to experience for yourself (I’m talking critical listening, people). Very early on in Emancipator’s career, his music was picked up by a major Japanese producer. The unexpected discovery led to Soon It Will Be Cold Enough selling 5000 copies in Japan in the first six months. Despite being almost completely unknown, Emancipator got a Puma sponsorship around the same time. His song “Maps” was even played at the Beijing Olympics! Things like this don’t happen often, which leads me to believe that there’s something very special about the music.
Perhaps the coolest thing about Emancipator are his live shows. When on tour, Appling brings violinist Ilya Goldberg to provide live accompaniment to his producer/DJ erudition. While larger bands like Lotus, Sound Tribe, and others have long been blending live instrumentation into electronic shows, the DJ/single instrument concept is quite rare. There’s no better instrument to bring Emancipator’s tune to life than a well-played violin. Expect a fantastic show from Emancipator and Goldberg! Guru Guaranteed. New album info.
BUY TICKETS NOW! – $15
Emancipator’s newest video for the song Minor Cause:
“Maps” from Soon It Will Be Cold Enough:
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