Emese Arvai-Illes is having a moment. The virtuoso singer appears on two excellent new singles released within a week of one another.
Last week, Emese’s primary project, Black Nail Cabaret, released their new single and music video “Maelstrom.” It’s a reworked version of a mesmerizing, mid-tempo track from last year’s superb album, Gods Verging on Sanity.
This week, she’s guesting on the new single, “Tremors,” from German electro-industrial artist Fïx8:Sëd8. She’s credited as Emke, the name she uses to release solo material.
“Tremors” is from Fïx8:Sëd8’s fifth studio album, The Inevitable Relapse. The surprise appearance of Emese’s gorgeous yet delicate vocals adds a nice twist to Fïx8:Sëd8’s harsh, aggressive sound.
The Inevitable Relapse opens with the psychiatric evaluation of a young woman who is depressed and detached, and in some respects, Emese embodies the voice of the character. The album’s other songs feature distorted vocals, unsettling media samples, and crushing layers of electronic noise that bear an obvious influence from Skinny Puppy, but its themes about personal trauma are firmly grounded in 2021.
Emese is no stranger to making guest appearances. In 2013, she penned lyrics and performed beautiful vocals on Architect’s Mine album, one of the best albums of the year. Architect is one of many projects from electronic mastermind Daniel Myer.