Video: Avalon Emerson – The Frontier
Avalon Emerson’s latest is a love letter to the Arizona desert, her childhood home. “The Frontier,” is her first record for Whities, an up-and-coming London-based label affiliated with Young Turks. The namesake a-side is a driving yet abstract slice of dance music. Recalling a midnight drive across a lonely Sonoran landscape, the song floats a gliding and emotional melody over a rush of unusual arpeggiations and hard-hitting drums.
The psychedelic desert motif continues on the b-side with the atmospheric “2000 Species of Cacti,” which substitutes a more expansive space for the a-side’s driving pulse — a glittering piano distorts across the cut’s superheated surface, creating a sonic fata morgana.
Finally, “The Frontier (High Desert Synthapella)” closes the record out by gifting the isolated delicate synth lead of the a-side, letting it drift ambient and alone in the aether. It rounds out what is, for Emerson, her most mature work to date: a step forward towards a hybrid form of house-techno that’s heavy enough for the dancefloor, but rich enough for the home high fi.