Ornate, the new EP from UK singer-songwriter Terry Emm is, as the title suggests, a collection of fragile elegant tracks that have a timeless feel and are crafted as if they are unique objects for mantlepiece display. Fashioned from the love of creation and to catalogue memories and thoughts, they are distinctive and embellished with astute understated beauty at every turn.
Emm’s first release in six years, the EP was a nostalgic experience for Emm with an exploration of his previously unreleased back catalogue of demos. “When I was around 12-15 years old I’d spend every night after school recording tracks on an 8-track in my bedroom. I started to revisit these sessions last year which was like re-connecting to a previous life and a certain freedom and purity. Some tracks were like old friends, some I’d completely forgotten about. I liked the young innocent feel of the tones and lyrics and picked out some previously overlooked elements of some of the tracks that I thought were particularly cool. Each of the tracks on this EP had their genesis in the old demos from these years but were then re-written slightly to enhance them” he says.
The EP has hallmarks of the style of Emm’s previous releases but like all his works reaches into new territory with a new blend of sounds from the atmospheric subtle electronics of ‘Sophia’ a song of unrequited love to the Goddess of wisdom to the deep healing keyboards of title track ‘Ornate’. The palette is expanded also by the addition of an enigmatic female vocalist providing soaring moods to three of the tracks and also some inspired percussion and production wizardry from co-producer Jonathan McMillan at Smokehouse Studios, London.
Throughout his career Emm has developed a style that is idiosyncratic and eschews genre categorization. His most recent album ‘Starlight’ at times sounds like the Americana jams of Wilco yet also the string quartet infused ballads of Clifford T Ward. Previous albums Petals Fallen Off The Sun and White Butterflies and standalone single ‘Gently’ enveloped alternative folk explorations, sprawling rock epics and psychedelic indie singer-songwriter territory and much more.