Sunday, November 28, 2010


While looking for a 4th study album I came across the work of Emancipator. I began listening to his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, and started to work. Within three minutes, I had to put down my books and just listen to the music. I sat and listened to Soon It Will Be Cold Enough all the way through and as soon as it finished I fired up Emancipator's second album Safe in the Steep Cliffs. After finishing the album, I started listening to it again. I have not been so impressed by electronic/trip-hop since I first heard DJ Shadow's album Entroducing. Safe in the Steep Cliffs features strong jazz and Asian influences and grows upon the success of the first album. The music is beautiful, and masterfully produced. On his blurb on the website bandcamp, Emancipator (Doug Appling) describes his beats as "organic"; I was unfamiliar with the term before listening to the album, but when I first heard the opening track, Lionheart, I began to understand. There is a purity to the sound that is uncommon in this genre.

I had to find more of Emancipator's music after listening to his albums, on his website I found that he was a part of a tribute project for Hydeout Productions producer Nujabes. Nujabes is the moniker for Jun Seba, the Japanese Hip Hop Producer and head of Emacipator's record label Hydeout Productions. Nujabes was tragically killed in a traffic accident earlier this year. Emancipator composed the song A Day by Atmosphere Supreme.

I enjoyed the music of Emancipator so much that I reached out to the artists with some questions. Luckily, he responded! So here for you all, an Ipod and Headphones first, an interview with Emancipator:

(I & H): First off, how would you define your music? Meaning, what kind of genre would you see yourself in?

(Emancipator)-It's electronic music production infused with live instrumentation. Experimental downtempo/trip-hop? Genre labels are tricky.

(I & H): Your music has been categorized as Trip Hop, what's trip hop to you?

(Emancipator)-I think my song 'When I Go' has a lot of traditional trip-hop elements. For example, a mid-tempo beat featuring rhodes, smooth bass and guitar licks, jazzy vocals, and ambient layers.

(I & H): How did you arrive at this style of music?

(Emancipator)-It's the music I want to hear. I have a classical violin background, played drums in various bands, and produced all kinds of dance music at first. I listen closely to all different genres too. My music is a reflection and combination of my musical past and all that I've heard.

(I & H): What sort of gear do you use to produce/write your albums?

(Emancipator)-I produce my music using Acid Pro and Reason, various guitars, keys, violins, voices, and a healthy library of oneshots and samples I've gathered.

(I & H): I've always wondered how instrumental/electronic artists come up with names for songs, can you explain your process on this?

(Emancipator)-My song titles are often undecided until the song is complete. Each song paints a scene in my head and that helps me choose a title.

(I & H): Do you have a favorite set of headphones?

(Emancipator)-I mix on AudioTechnica ATH-900's.

(I & H): What was it like to have the opportunity to work with Jun Seba before his tragic accident?

(Emancipator)-Jun was an exceptional, genuine person with a golden ear and great musical vision. He is one of my favorite producers of all-time. It was an honor to have been heard by him and have my music introduced to the world through Hydeout Productions.

(I & H): A Day by Atmosphere Supreme turned out beautifully, how was it working with all these different artists to produce the memorial album?

(Emancipator)-I had met most of the Hydeout family for the first time at the Nujabes tribute events in Tokyo last August. Having experienced that, this combined tribute effort is even more special and heartfelt.

(I & H): Finally, what's next for Emancipator?

(Emancipator)-Working on new music as much as I can this winter. Spring tour will be announced soon, so heads up!

(I & H): Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, my readers and I really appreciate it.

That concludes Ipod and Headphones first ever artist interview. EXCITING! I would like to thank Emancipator for taking the time to answer my questions.

I encourage all of you to check out his music at the links below:

This isn't study music, this is just good music.

Keep Rocking.

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