Matt Emery’s music is described by The 405 as “ebbing from soft whispers to an ocean of sound that would calm even the roughest of seas.” Their words are apt. Though learned and erudite, Empire is experienced less in musicality but in mood. There is melancholia, jubilation, tension, beauty, dark ambience all deftly navigated within its various movements. Though it is delivered with the sombre grace of heavyweights such as Ryuichi Sakamoto or Ludovico Einaudi, and possesses a singularity akin to Lubomyr Melnyk or Bing and Ruth, its devastating depth of sentiment is all its own.
From the swooping strings of the album’s title track to the fluttering piano of ‘Effervescent’, to the intensity of ‘Orpheus’, it is evident that Emery has a heavy heart. Beneath the album’s compositional maturity and sophistication lies a very pure and clear picture of emotional expression. It is a record that sings without a single vocal utterance, captured with a credence missing from much of the broad ‘modern-classical’ world. A record that echoes the grandeur and myriad complexities of Greek mythology, its own central theme.
The album was recorded by James Kenosha (Lone Wolf, RHODES, Chapel Club) at his Lodge Studio in Yorkshire, and features the beautiful string performances of Fraser Bowles and Lins Wilson on cello, and Will Harvey, Kieran O’Malley and Simon Goff on violin and viola. Taylor Deupree of 12k (Goldmund, Hauschka, Loscil) mastered the album.
Released on 15 September 2017. Cover art by Tyler Hobbs.