Single Reviews: 18 January 2023: Emma Tricca, Rémi Fay, Vanessa Marcoux, David Smalt, Shmurk

Photo by melanie nobaru

Emma Tricca - King Blixa

folk rock

London-based Italian artist Emma Tricca's smooth vocals are spread evenly across her rousing new single "King Blixa". Taken from the upcoming album 
Aspirin Sun, out April 7th on Bella Union, the song rises from arty country folk to high-intensity chamber pop while it touches on mystical topics of nature and folklore that mirror the enchanting melodies and chords on offer. What works most about Tricca's performance is that her vocals are extravagant without being overblown. Instead, they inject a feeling of wistful awakening with their subtle restraint and colourful characterizations, creating a track of joy and beauty that also has some bite. 

Rémi Fay - Funambulist No4


French composer Rémi Fay creates tense yet airy compositions for piano and strings that seem to float above the world, much like the titular funambulist of his recent single "Funambulist No4". A funambulist is a tightrope walker, a performative occupation which requires skill and focus, both of which are found on "Funambulist No4", the fourth movement from Fay's upcoming album The Funambulist, which features Ben Russel on violin and is scheduled for an April 7th release. The track is a gentle introduction to the album and intrigues with its high-concept (no pun intended) premise and transportive maximally-minimal music. 

Vanessa Marcoux - Snakes

classical / instrumental

"Snakes" is the first single from the new album La Jungle, which sees its composer, Quebecois violin virtuoso Vanessa Marcoux, create a temptingly dark and exquisitely musical landscape. An ecosystem teeming with life, Marcoux's composition includes rhythmic anomalies, textured electronic, unexpected electric guitar, and playful brass, all pillared by Marcoux's searching violin strikes. An accomplished composer and performer, academically and professionally, Marcoux's musical intelligence might be lost on those who like their music to be easily identifiable, but for those who listen closely, her music is a pleasure to get lost in.

David Smalt - White Flower 


LA-based folksmith David Smalt spins ambient and atmospheric folk stylings on his recent single "White Flowers". With allusions to nature and the redemptive power of the changing of the season, Smalt deliveries luscious and lo-fi acoustic fingerpicked folk in the vein of Iron & Wine but adorns his croons with electronic flourishes that place the song on the right side of folktronica. Lifted from the album "Möbius Band of Unrequited Love", "White Flowers" showcases a gentler side than the rock-leaning single "Unrequited Love" or the electro-pop of "Sum of Some Thing". Though all singles released from the album thus far are heavily atmospheric and intimate, this one offers a moment of respite without asking for much in return.

Shmurk - Animal Intelligence  

electronic / experimental 

St. Louis technologist Shmurk blends samples, manipulated tones, and bass-in-your-face riffs that centre the tapestried arrangement and freedom of form found on the recent single "Animal Intelligence". However, the samples used aren't re-digitized beyond recognition, and one wonders if Diego Santa Cruz, the IRL name of Shmurk, was really able to get clearance from the Beastie Boys or if this track is somewhat illegal. Even if it is heavily sampled, it sounds fresh, if not disorientating. There's also variety in the mess of sounds, with the ambient outro hitting nicely when the frenetic energy eventually runs out of steam. From the EP "Quantum Coup".