|photo by Brian Vu|
"Spell" is easily one of Reo's most emotive and expressive tracks to date even through Reo's characteristic digitalized vocals. Reo's music has always sat at the crossroads between futuristic arrangements and stirring humanistic touches but "Spell" takes that and levels it up: pairing the lullaby lilt with a sparse composition that draws incredible focus not only to the beauty of its growing layers but to its lyricism as well. It's pastoral as well as touchingly human. "Time cast a spell on me, burn down the trees/Make me believe, feel something" Reo sings after a series of evocative nature imagery and its the first instance Reo offers of what the song is about as its lyrics become more rooted in the self; building and building until the repetitive pseudo-chorus "I can't feel anything/I don't hear anything". As the song reaches its emotional climax, there's a shift in the production, a crystallizing chime, the entrance of strings, and various effects that all threaten to overwhelm and overtake the simple chorus and Reo herself. Reo's voice endures the cacophony but when they're all that's left, they're stripped of their clarity repeating a different undiscernable mantra instead.
Emily Reo is releasing "Spell" on 10" with b-side "Strong Swimmer" on October 28th via Orchid Tapes. You can pre-order the record now. In case you missed it, here's Emily Reo's brilliant (and seasonally appropriate) performance for Portals: