Emancipator on New Album Dusk to Dawn: "Exploring the Edges of My Musical World"

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Last month, we here at Crossfade gave you a heads up about Massive Wednesdays at The Stage and the live electronic music performances they are serving up each week.

Well, Massive Ideas, the folks behind the night, show no signs of slowing down their bookings, and not just on Wednesdays anymore.

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Now maybe you've never heard of Emancipator (AKA Douglas Appling), but the Portland, Oregon-based producer has been making major waves on the global trip-hop scene since the late noughties. His sound: a lush, cinematic fusion of downtempo electronica and world music influences with supremely nuanced, elegant arrangements.

Last week, he dropped his fourth studio album Dusk to Dawn, and he's supporting the release with a whopping 44-date North American tour, including, of course, a live performance at The Stage next Tuesday.

"Dusk to Dawn is a collection of songs I've made in the past few years that have tested me as an artist in some way," Appling tells Crossfade. "I collaborated with other musicians often on these tracks. They all seem to have worldly and otherworldly sounds involved.

"I took my time making this album," he adds. "I've been expanding my range of instruments and getting more into analog gear and the studio process. I've been growing as a producer and laying the foundation for future works. Some tracks are a little less chilled-out than previous albums, and some are even more out there in a dream world. I think you will find me continually exploring the edges of my musical world with every release."

Tracks from Dusk to Dawn like "Minor Cause" leave no doubt about Appling's prowess as a classically trained multi-instrumentalist composer. But the music's dreamy, fantastical qualities also affirm his experimental streak.

"My songwriting process is a mix of imagination and experimentation," he explains. "I might have a good idea of the mood or tempo of a song I want to create, even the initial instrumentation, but my songs always evolve organically, often with a lot of trial and error. I'll throw sounds upon sounds and see what sticks. Each new sound will affect the next one I add, so it's hard to know exactly where a song is going from the start."

So how do these lavish studio recordings translate live?

"Context is everything," says Appling. "I think you will experience my music differently at a show than at home. I control tracks, samples, and effects using my OhmRGB controller, and I'll be performing with violinist Ilya Goldberg. We also have a new projection-mapped stage setup that looks like a forest of triangles."

Emancipator. With Random Rab, Tor and Afro-Monk. Presented by Massive Ideas. Tuesday, February 12. The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $15 plus fees via brownpapertickets.com. Call 305-576-9577 or visit thestagemiami.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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