By: Anand Harsh
I've been delighted by the staying power of Doug Appling, with Ilya Goldberg by his side in more recent years, in the electronic and dance music scenes. Not swayed by trends, or dislodged by the rapid rise of fad producers and superstar DJs, the Emancipator project has always been one of dogmatic dedication to what it has always been: gorgeous composition, lush instrumentation, and a hip-hop twist.
Despite his young age, Appling has been a fixture in the scene for nearly a decade. A teen when he was already something of a star in Japan, and touring with Bassnectar when he was barely old enough to get a drink from the bar, Emancipator has been carefully building a brand and lovingly crafting an incredible catalog of tunes with such humble, ego-free devotion to the art, it's hard to believe he's not a complete outsider.
But here he is, on one of the biggest tours of the fall, the Creature Carnival with Beats Antique, Shpongle, and Lafa Taylor, faithfully reinterpreting his beloved catalog for thousands of adoring fans from coast-to-coast.
As is our wont, we've assembled a crash course for fans of Emancipator's, new and old, who've been around since it was Cold Enough, or whose first shows were with the newly-formed Emancipator Ensemble. While my personal favorite, "Nevergreen," didn't make the list we crowdsourced from our fans, it just goes to show each song has its own life and love. There's nothing more lively, more lovely, and quicker into your bones than a good Emancipator tune, so let's dive in without further ado.
10. Wolf Drawn
This is such a quintessential Emancipator tune, I'm glad it leads things off. When I think of Doug Appling and his sound, and I absolutely hear "Wolf Drawn" in my head.
9. With Rainy Eyes
Trip-hop elements form the foundation of this classic tune. That ubiquitous tinkling piano is just so gentle, so effervescent, you can't believe Appling was just a kid when he crafted this sheer elegance.
It's easy to forget that Appling is a multi-instrumentalist. Able to absolutely go to town on the guitar, songs like "Maps" show off his many creative outlets.
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