Considered something of an experimental super-group, E. Bias incorporates Turner Prize-nominated artist Luke Fowler, the eclectic Richard Youngs and Franz Ferdinand’s Paul Thomson. Instigated out of correspondence between Youngs and Italian artist Emmanuel Maggi, a collaboration was formed. Youngs was sent the lyrics and rhythm tracks from Maggi’s debut record of several decades back, and formed with Fowler and Thompson. The Emmanuel Bias EP got underway.
Maggi’s music was never received by a vast audience apart from a few live sets played in Italy in the Eighties, and he left the music industry for the homely comforts of a family life. However, this release does indicate the universality and timelessness of his music as the appeal for retro-styled albums is definitely there. It’s still not too late for Maggi to be recognised for his efforts on the vintage Serge Modular and DX7 synthesisers.
No Way Back juxtaposes a straightforward, spare and deep bass line, with a blasé vocal. There does seem to be a head nod to pioneering krautrock anticipators Silver Apples, with not just this but a few tracks on the EP. Emergency depends on a handclap and sparse keyboard, and somewhat of a lengthened David Byrne approach to the vocal style. Landfill has a fun intro, not too dissimilar to a retro Mario Kart game perhaps with more of this elongated vocal and a hypnotic rhythm. By the time we reach Share the initial sound of the album becomes all a little too familiar. However, Ride reinvigorates the sound just before we conclude the EP, with a shift in vocal and pace. Pleasure easily feels like the most emotionally authentic track with fidgety synths married with a soulful singing.
Bearing in mind both the obscure Italian material from the Eighties and reasonably left-field artists involved you may well expect something a little more avant-garde than this, as despite their similar sound, individually these could work in clubs. Perhaps that’s why Maggi’s career only extended to a few live clubbing sessions, and in that sense fits the work of the subversive composer.
The Emmanuel Bias EP is out on 28th February on Kick and Clap.