Tonight I'd like to share with you a video / song that has transfixed me: "California" by EMA. This has really blown me away, I just dig it immensely. I love the way it comes together – the performance of EMA (the monogrammed alias of Erika M Anderson), backdropped by a variety of images, to a song that is a compelling listen on its own. The sound is expansive, filled with both beautiful piano and forbidding noise. EMA seems to talk more than she sings here, the delivery feels right. The first line of the song is an arresting attention-getter, underscored by the angular gun gestures.
I know it's not the proper, technical definition of the term, but I couldn't help thinking of the idea of "tone poem" as I listened/watched. This feels like what that phrase literally means: the words, motions, images, and sounds all feel impressionistic. Each layer seems to mimic and reinforce the others as collections of discrete singularities that nevertheless are part of a larger, collective unity. There is no clarity of an intended, sole meaning, yet the pervasive mood is not meaningless; I feel like we as listeners and viewers can ascribe quite a bit on our own to it. Whatever moves us, basically. Forgive the extended reference, but for me, one thing I couldn't help feeling was that this song contains the antipodal delivery of "I bet my money on the bobtail nag, somebody bet on the bay" to Eugene Levy as Dr. Pearl's in his audition in Waiting For Guffman.
Anyways, at times, I would focus on just one element – maybe just watch the background. At others, I would notice the interplay between the sounds and EMA's motions, which I definitely enjoyed – love the synchronicity of it, especially the hands doing the 51-50 bit for some reason. I've watched and listened several times and each one felt unique. In a world all about moving on to the next thing and next and so on, that is obviously testament to the talent and effort put into this.
The song comes from an album entitled Past Life Martyred Sins, which will be released May 10, 2011. I'm incredibly excited to hear more.