Emika – DVA
A follow-up to her self-titled 2011 debut, Emika's DVA sees the artist collaborating with Hank Shocklee of The Bomb Squad on production duties, and recording with fellow Czech and soprano Michaela Šrůmová, whose operatic voice opens the album, before it descends into the bass-heavy, horn-inflected Young Minds. The beats, rooted in electro and synth-pop, are a perfect, moody accompaniment to Emika's treated, reverb-shrouded vocals.
She Beats nods to dubstep's synonymous towering synths, while After The Fall and Primary Colours offer a polished take on the kind of moody, retro-futurist synth-pop of Chromatics. Elsewhere, the strings of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra swell and fill the exquisite Dem Worlds, while the piano-led Sleep With My Enemies exudes a fragile menace. At 15 tracks, it's a sprawling album, its strengths revealed in isolation, rather than when taken as a whole. A spellbinding dream-pop cover of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game is worth the price of admission alone. [Bram E. Gieben]