Emak Bakia – Un Cuerpo Extrano EP

Emak Bakia
Un Cuerpo Extrano EP

Emak Bakia, originally a duo consisting of Abel Hernandez and Coque Yturriaga, has grown into a larger musical collective with the addition of a new drummer and several other guest collaborators on their latest release, Un Cuerpo Extrano. The group, who hail from Spain (but sing in English), was initially formed as a side-project by two members of the more well-known Spanish group Migala. Emak Bakia already have two full-length albums under their belt.
The music on this four-track EP is unmistakably somber. The four long songs are without exception ominous and gloomy, and all are overflowing with deep, reverberating bass and hypnotic drum beats. To the unprepared, listening to this disc could be an eerie and unsettling experience. Although the group plays conventional instruments, the mix is hollow and spacey, and the instruments are augmented by unidentifiable whispers and background samples that often seem to randomly wash through the tracks. The atmosphere is reminiscent of artists like Massive Attack and Tricky, who are famous for making music with samples and loops instead of guitars and drum kits.
The first song on the disc, “Moreno,” features gruff, half-spoken vocals over top of super-deep bass and a slow rhythm. “Forever (How Much Time Means?)” is the closest any song comes on this disc to being “upbeat”; that said, even the subtle vibe of optimism I noticed on the track is buried beneath somber tones. The closing song, “Years for Me (Handicap),” ends with a long instrumental mixed with newscast snippets referring to the horrors of nuclear war – a timely reference that might come across as trite in the hands of lesser musicians. Not so with Emak Bakia: the sample works well, and the result is spooky. Un Cuerpo Extrano is not music to party to, or music to dance to. There is an amazing amount of depth packed into this short EP, and Un Cuerpo Extrano is worthy of many, many repeat listens.