To use hip hop vernacular, Martin Knowles, who goes performs under the name Emalkay, is most certainly an O.G. (Original Gangster) in the world of electronic music today. Emerging in 2005, he didn’t release his debut album Eclipse until 2011 — which included his number one track “When I Look at You,” that has now amassed over twenty million views on youtube, originally released in 2009. This was released on the Dub Police label, which consists of a significant portion of the heavy hitters in the dubstep game in the UK. Caspa founded the label in 2004 and brought in Rusko, L-Wiz, N-Type, The Others, and more.
Emalkay is an artist who has fascinated me since I first heard some of his nutty beats in 2010. I was fresh onto the dubstep trail about a year earlier and was still hungry for new sounds and feelings in this realm. His music has become a bit of an obsession for me. From early on, when I first started to appreciate The Prodigy’s music, I have had a deep affinity for minimalistic soundscapes. Emalkay weaves his own webs of interstellar bedazzlement in his dark, weeble-wobble brand of dubstep full of distortion, ambient sound, and alien-like synths. His style elicits pure fear and brings to mind long harbored childhood nightmares. He definitely has the “it” factor.
A recurring nightmare of mine, that still haunts me to this day, was of a man transformed into a giant machine. This man, a kind of grotesque, James and the Giant Peach creation, would roll over continents at an enormous speed and because of his tremendous inertia (picture a man-like machine rolling head over heels bigger than Mt. Everest) was impossible to stop. He would go on destroying everything in his path, which was, well, everything. This is the kind of terrifying apocalyptic suggestion that makes Emalkay’s music so addictive. The sheer goose-bump raising, hair-standing, heart-stopping factor that it possesses is so otherworldly, and so intriguing, that it is impossible to ignore.
Unlike the vast majority of dubstep enthusiasts, I find the entirety of Emalkay’s work to be interesting and hauntingly pleasing. His style would be well suited for a blockbuster horror film, or the next Gravity. I have seldom been happier than upon hearing the building, clambering bass line of “For the People” working its way into a Bassnectar set.
“For the People” was released on his For the People EP in 2013, which he released on his own label Bring it Down. The brevity of the album left more to be desired for dubstep freaks. He currently has another album in the works, though, and we will soon be blessed by his genius again. To quote a recent Facebook status of his, “making decent non-half time, non-wobble dubstep has been fun yet challenging, but mostly fun.” This underscores his dedication to dubstep, but also his willingness to expand as an artist. I look forward to hearing what he has to offer in the future and will jump at a chance to see him live in action.