“Navigation” is the 5th studio release from the band Emblematics. Written and recorded during 2021, the EP is a product of the band’s experiences from the past year, unavoidably shaped by the pandemic.
At the end of 2020, Emblematics had released an album (“Wavelength”) that was originally meant to be a finishing touch on the group’s activities. The band had lost a core member just before the pandemic began, Covid was raging in Canada and there were no concrete plans to continue as an active project at that point in time. Though “Wavelength” was not heavily promoted, there was enough positive reaction to inspire a creative spark in the band’s chief songwriter, Michael Yun. In January 2021, Yun wrote about 25 pieces of new music, and realized some of the songs were worth finishing to completion. Eventually demos turned into proper foundation tracks, recorded and engineered in isolation (due to pandemic restrictions) by Yun. During this time, it was becoming clearer and clearer to Yun that the ritual of working on the songs was a pure catharsis; the idea of hunkering down in a little home studio, writing an abstract journal of thoughts, setting it to dreamy music and letting it all out. Song lyrics started to take on a common theme, discussing concepts of anxiety, everyday unease and the ability to cope; ideas relevant to many during the pandemic. Restrictions eased somewhat in May, but the group still could not meet inside to record. As such, the remaining band members (at the time) James Yue and Will Yue, made do by recording their parts outside with portable equipment, all in one day.
Musically, what began as a collection of simple acoustic demos morphed into intricately layered pieces, bringing together different elements of ambient music, shoegaze and synth-pop. Mixed by Calgary producer Lorrie Matheson, an effort was made to create a headphones record, but still an indie-pop experience in the end. Opening track ‘An Impact,’ is built on delayed guitar riffs and heavily treated organs and synths. ‘Festival Door’ is set to a driving rock beat and bassline, but maintains a ghostly feel; a dreamy, dance track. ‘Profession’ has been described as a track straight out of “Tron.” ‘The High Court’ features modulated synthesizers and guitar parts, with an echoey chorus and anthemic outro. ‘A Different Kind Of View’ could have been a Motown song in a different life, but changed into something else entirely. It contains sounds akin to aural pixie dust, and an unpredictable coda. ‘Reserve’ is the piano ballad that completes the EP, with swirling loops and a pounding tom.
In the end, “Navigation” became Emblematics’ documentation of the current times, an ode to the sometimes fragile state of one’s mental well being. “Navigation” is due for release April 2022.
Emblematics began as a university distraction. Many graduations/marriages/kids/years later, we're still here. We play indie
pop and chamber rock. We like Telecasters and synthesizers. We like The Beatles and Britpop and harmonies. We live in Calgary. We're happy you're reading this.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org...more