Prior to the release of her forthcoming full-length Second Love, out March 11th on Bella Union, Emmy The Great has releasedd the video for her single “Algorithm”. Emmy’s research behind the video “began with shopping and dating algorithms, then moved on to narrative software—such as Wordsmith and Narrative Sciences— which takes data and turns it into narratives. Ultimately, artist Daniel Swan and I decided to ‘ask’ an algorithm to write the video for us.”
They were then helped by Nicolas Seymour-Smith, a programmer and artist to “build a machine that generates music-video treatments using a natural language processing algorithm . We taught the machine what a music video plot was by feeding it synopses of music videos—classics like “Thriller” and “Scream”, and modern favourites from Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. The machine began generating its own plots based on what it had learned and ‘Algorithm’ was born.”. It is truly an original concept, and like her third album, Second Love, one that’s impact lingers long after. A smaller version of the machine is now available on www.emmythegreat.com, to generate your own music video treatment.
Despite recording in tiny snatches, burrowing herself away in friend’s bedrooms, borrowed studios and hotel rooms – “If I had to write down the locations of every recording session the credits would have around 30 people’s houses in it”, says Emma – Second Love remains a resolute whole, a delicate balance of songs and sounds that mirror the personal discoveries she made while making the album.
Emma’s own life path – a move from London to Los Angeles then to New York – brought new perspectives. “Each time I was introduced to a new city, I got really quiet and observant. I’d be on a rooftop or in some weird LA backyard party, and someone would tell me something, and that sense of spontaneous connection would find its way into a song later.” While trying to raise money for Second Love, Emma worked as a journalist, interviewing artists like King Krule, Dam Funk, Caroline Polachek, and Kele Okerere, and writing about culture for the Guardian and Vice – experiences which lent a new openness to her music.
“I’ve always felt that records are supposed to be “records” of your life when you made them,” she continues. “The entire album from ‘Swimming Pool’ to the final mix took around three years, and in this time my life progressed in previously unimaginable ways. I lived in three cities, I was single, I fell in love, made friends, new life came into my family and I found out what it is to be a stranger and to begin again.”
With fitting synchronicity, Emma progressed from writing and recording guitar and vocals to programming and engineering. Advances in sound are balanced against classic songwriting, with each song’s core left to breathe amidst a glistening whirr of spiraling layers of sound and voices.
The roll call of talent enlisted to assist Emmy The Great’s new albums is as impressive as the vision itself. Produced by Dave McCracken (Oh Land/ Beyonce) & Ludwig Goransson (Haim/ Childish Gambino), and mixed by Neil Comber (MIA), the album features musicians from far and wide, including Tom Fleming (Wild Beasts), Leo Abrahams (Pulp/ Brian Eno), Simon Oscroft (MXTHER),Henry Kwapis, O Karmina, Du Blonde (aka Beth Jeans Houghton), Nick Trepka (Speech Debelle), Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots), Gabriel Bruce, and her brother Robin Moss, with writer and broadcaster Jon Ronson authoring the album’s liner notes.
Emmy The Great – Second Love
1. Swimming Pool (feat. Tom Fleming)
2. Less Than Three
6. Social Halo
7. Never Go Home
8. Dance w. Me
11. Part of Me
Lost in You