EMA, "The Future’s Void"
EMA, "The Future's Void" (Courtesy Photo)
You probably remember Erika M. Anderson -- EMA -- from her curled-lip “California” in 2011. And yes, you probably haven't heard from her since then. Maybe you even forgot about her. The Future's Void will snap you back to attention.

Much like fellow female powerhouse St. Vincent, EMA is concerned about the digital age. The songs are wracked with worry about what being constantly plugged in does to us. “Satellites” is the most obvious example of this, and probably the most blatantly paranoid, but the unease creeps up all over. “I don't want to put myself out and turn it into a refrain / It's all just a big advertising campaign,” she sings on “3Jane.”

In title and sound, The Future's Void sounds like a dystopian future. It's industrial and menacing. Anderson often turns her ethereal vocals into something gritty, distorted and almost inhuman. The drums have a metallic sheen, while the guitars and synths are generally rough. “Cthulhu” is an seductive as it is frightening. “Neuromacer” is more droning noise than anything melodic. The cleanest thing you're going to hear are the somber piano chords that open the startlingly quiet “100 Years.”

Anderson recently told Pitchfork, “I just wanted some harsh tones on there. I was bringing it back to West Coast noise shows that I used to go to.


” So, that's the simple explanation for the sound. Even if it is a return to something old for her, though, it feels fresh to hear something so industrial when sugary electro-pop takes up so much space right now. This isn't the soundtrack to an indie dance party, it's the soundtrack to the frightening singularity.