Review Summary: Sounding alien in origin yet still feeling human at its core, e|m is the duo's newest masterpiece.
Being a collaborative effort between two separate artists, e|m
at first surprised and astounded me with how unified and comfortable the album sounded just on my initial spin. However, as I later dug a little deeper into the history of the two of these electronic producers and listened to the individual works of exm’s Jeroen Bax and Mitoma’s Tam Ferrans, the fantastic result we now have in e|m
appears to just have been a matter of time, opportunity, and one recent global pandemic.
was crafted by exm and Mitoma over the course of the Corona Virus lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. The two artists clearly have a wonderful chemistry going on, after having worked together often on music creation over the past decade, be it mixing or remastering tracks for one or the other, or even releasing full-length collaborative efforts on each of the others’ affiliated labels. Two album-length releases from the two have spawned before e|m
– and both came with remarkably stunning results: Touched Music Label’s FF000
and Kaer’Uiks Label’s I/0 Disc
EP, both released in 2018.
As on those prior collaborative releases, exm and Mitoma start things off with a synth melody, a bass line, and a beat that will repeat and slowly change and morph throughout the 54 minute length of e|m
: the whole album is essentially one song, broken up into parts. The two artists instil and mold this melodic collection of sounds as a sort of heartbeat for the album, more or less, but the real magic here is in how the two producers can shift and modulate these sound elements. Autechre’s music is the first major influence that e|m
will remind you of initially, without a doubt, but the alien yet organic sense of melody and rhythm of e|m
makes it its own unique thing -- it actually sounds more human than computer here, which often isn't the case with the prior, popular Manchester duo -- and not so distant and cold in how it comes across and feels.
is essentially one piece, one song, I see little point in trying to pick highlight sections or write about any other such similar meandering. To me, it’s all good, a beautiful album -- or song, rather – and there’s no reason to skip any part of it. e|m
is fluid and marvelous, the result of a decade long, or more, production art chemistry of work, and it’s the best thing exm and Mitoma have ever done, in my opinion. I hope e|m
isnt their last collaborative effort. But in case it is, they’ve delivered their best to us, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes my favorite electronic/ IDM album for 2022. Absolutely astounding.