Seattle's Emuul has been around the block a few times over the last few years, releasing an excellent string of tapes on Digitalis, Monorail Trespassing, Stunned and others. Emuul (Kyle Iman) has always shown a masterful level of restraint and subtlety, leaving the listener to fill in the blanks. Iman uses each song as a dot on a map that ultimately leads you to an aural treasure. The Drawing Of The Line is his most fully-realized work, crafting a set of deceptively complex songs that flirt with unexpected, slightly-buried pop influences to create an expertly-composed meditation on an unknown future. On the opener, "Expectations," Emuul is at his restrained and sanguine best. Using a series of repetitive, evocative notes over a bed of rising-and-falling oscillations, there's much promise ahead. "Love Theme" is even more tender and blossoms into near-catharsis, longing for that time when everything you hope for is finally within reach. Those feelings are set aside with the worried and frenetic walls of "The First Look." As the synthesizer and guitar move faster, and as wordless vocals descend on the mix, it is as though things didn't quite turn out the way they could have. He brings it all home when he closes out the A-side with the six-minute "Big Clouds," recorded to tape and sounding dense to the point of breaking, while the side-long "Plus One" is the ultimate pay-off for all that came before, a 21-minute meditation on self-reflection and acceptance. The Drawing Of The Line is a beautiful album that offers the perfect introduction to Emuul's sound.
Winter 2010. For Quinn.
Original copies on sky-blue vinyl.