emily jane white
Emily Jane White's new album juxtaposes a heavy melancholy with an intimate touching lightness through her singular alto voice backed by orchestral percussion, soaring strings, heavy guitars, a choir of voices, and an overall cinematic presentation of dynamic songwriting.
Written over a two year period her sixth album "Immanent Fire" recognizes our moment at the precipice of species annihilation, as she guides her listener through the feeling of life on a planet at the brink of destruction: "I watched the wind make the roses bend/does X really mark the end?" White honours the sacred, the earthly, and all that is deemed feminine, even as these very elements are threatened with the violence of contemporary systems of power. This is the dominant paradigm of modernity that feminist spiritual philosopher and witch Starhawk has named the "war on immanence." Speaking directly from the fires incinerating California, White laments the destruction of the sacred feminine and the earth at once: "And she a holy vessel breathes/And you sit and watch her bleed/And you, torched a hole in the sky/And you, watched your earnings fly/And you, sit there as she lies/In blood, right before our eyes." Ten songs, all written in minor keys, present a deepening storm of melody that offers the hopeful ray of Emily's voice as the waves of rhythm crash and dance around her. Just before-or perhaps after-the despair seems to overwhelm, her vocals open up and bloom like a lens flare, creating an ecstatically painful emotional brilliance that the listener clings onto with pleasure. Her voice is the listener's guide, a steady and reassuring presence as they march through eerie landscapes, caverns of reverb, church organs and synthetic arpeggios. The occasional samples of birds, insects, and thunder mix with the blend of electronic and acoustic instruments, a subtle reminder of the necessary link between the fate of our ecology and the moral use of technology.