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CD REVIEW: eM - Deep, Hard, Fast (DHF)
By Cyrus Rhodes - 03/15/2012 - 05:50 PM EDT

Artist: eM
Album: Deep, Hard, Fast (DHF)
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Ethno-Ambient, Electro
Sounds Like: Berlin, Art of Noise, Crystal Method, Kraftwek
Technical Grade: 6/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: N/A
Weakness: More acoustical instrumentation and elements
CD Review: Australian Progressive Dance artist eM releases her latest collection of songs entitled “Deep, Hard, Fast” DHF for short in 2012. Reading a recent interview: “The whole concept of Darker Harder was starting off ambient/acoustic and taking the listener through a journey of breakbeat, progressive, trancey elements,” says eM. “I believe in taking people on these kinds of musical excursions. DHF, which stands for ‘Deep Hard Fast,’ is a step up with more beats and hypnotic lyrics." This release is rather unique in the sense that it presents a single 52 minute piece of music with various musical segments connected to each other. CD was mixed by Heath Karau.

Logging in at just over 52 minutes in length the CD gently lifts off with methodical musical intro that sets the stage rather well for this dynamic musical catalogue. This first movement offers striking keyboard intro against hypnotic vocal vibe from eM. As the piece methodically moves forward it gradually introduces more in the way of rhythms, and beats. It gradually presents pulsating rhythms, against low end moog bass all behind a grand mosaic of exotic soundscapes. The vocal layering that can be described as seductive, captivating, and mesmerizing. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic Euro techno. The music is extremely melodic but definitely brings to the table a high degree of unpredictability. You never really know what waiting for you around the next corner. It crosses so many musical boundaries and offers everything from electronica, ambient, chill-dub, trance, and classic tecno, but is progressive in the way each cong connects with the next like a musical journey. It definitely offers a lot of musical variety and provides a listening experience that is highly original. eM’s voice reminds me of a cross between Madonna and Terri Nunn (Berlin) She also brings to the table a wide range of instrumentation. You will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere - from driving electronic drums, rhythms and beats, distorted guitar pyrotechnics, soothing keyboard accents, organ and synthesizer ambience, against pulsating bass grooves. The tehcho overdubbing is packed to the hilt chopped full of exotic soundscapes that lunge at you from every direction. There's not really a dull moment on the entire production. The melodic layering is deep, the low end grooves are infectious, and the music is from another galaxy.

I do however wish there were more acoustical elements layered within the mix. Things like tripped out guitar ambience, Drums, Percussion, Horns, Piano, Flute, Harp, Violin, and even more vocal harmonies would give the production more musical depth. It's so true many world class ambient composers have combined the best of both worlds with masterful precision. As impressive as this musical statement is - it’s fair to say it sounds overly synthetic and a bit one sided. Ironically SHP only allows you to go so “deep”.

From start to finish “DHF by eM is a fascinating concept that successfully transcends traditional music. It’s an ethereal musical snapshot that works best when you just close your eyes and see where the musical journey takes you. Let me go on record and say this is one of the most unique musical experiences I’ve encountered this year. It’s extremely consistent, original and very melodic. It’s strength - its amazing originality, rich sonic layering, and unique musical personality. I give eMa lot of credit for boldly trying to reach the world with her unique musical signature. Make no bones about she is a talented composer. When the ride is over you will be dazzled by it’s originality, overwhelmed by it’s mystery, and mesmerized by it’s amazing diversity. 

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