Avalon Emerson

Berlin-based San Fran producer rips up the techno rulebook

Photo: Emil Jupin

Who She?

A Bay Area DJ and producer who first emerged with a series of self-released bootleg remixes and who made a name for herself at semi-legal San Fran warehouse parties before she was even old enough to drink. She upped sticks and moved to Berlin, where she honed her sound playing at the legendary Bhergains club. Clearly appearances can be deceptive, since her press photos make her look like a Manhattan investment banker. Deal with it.

Why Avalon Emerson?

While we might get all esoteric about electronic music here, sometimes you just want a nagging dancefloor-ready groove, that’s why. Emerson’s new ‘Narcissus In Retrograde’ EP for Ghostly offshoot Spectral Sounds showcases four very different riffs on the techno oeuvre, from what she calls “broken acid” through to darker and edgier concerns. Unlike some producers who think melody is for wimps, Emerson sprinkles her tracks with sequences and patterns that are more 1981 Sheffield than 1988 Detroit.

Tell Us More

While the omnipresent 4/4 spray of techno beats is the controlling force here as it should be, Emerson is happy to play fast and loose with convention not only on the new EP, she has evidently been studying the early editions of Richie Hawtin’s manual for DJing, sprinkling her live sets with specially-prepared edits, never-to-be-released jams and lots of dextrous live DJ trickery. Endlessly frustrating for her collectors but thrilling to behold.

‘Narcissus In Retrograde’ EP is out on Spectral Sound

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