Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, Emancipator

By Peter Ullrich, Contributing Writer


Each week, Sunday School takes a second look at a classic album worth revisiting years after its release. EMMIE staff handpick releases that shaped a genre, defined a generation or deserve recognition despite being left in the distance. Keep up with Sunday School for your weekly dose of dusted-off classics and throwbacks that merit a second spin.

Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, Emancipator

“I like to sing off key a lot, just to get into it. I’m doing it on purpose.” – Thao Nguyen at the start of When I Go.

If you’re looking for music to study or work to, a difficult balance must be struck. Your favorite lyrical album is going to be too verbally engaging to do anything much more intensive than sifting through email spam, and I can promise you that that 4 hour “chill-step low-fi instrumental” video is only in your YouTube recommended list because someone paid for it to be.

Emancipator’s inaugural album found me exactly when I needed it to. Portland based producer Doug Appling released Soon It Will Be Cold Enough when he was just 19, and the intricate layering of the music appealed to a fellow 19-year-old slogging his way through his freshman year studies in the otherwise maddeningly quiet halls of Steenbock Library.

The theme of the album is not subtle; everything from the name and the cover art to the twinkling-high melodies of the piano and violin smacks you in the face with frigid air. Driving rhythmic songs like Lionheart, Wolfdrawn, and With Rainy Eyes can get you through the bulk of your work. And if you ever need to find some dark, over-caffeinated place to power through a project, the Darkest Evening of the Year interlude is sure to give you the evil little boost you need. Eve comes in next with some much needed sanity and infinite re listening value.

Smoke Signals and Periscope Up come next, and they are followed by legendarily unique, emotion-contorting First Snow to form a tidy little triumvirate of quirkiness to push you over any creative humps you might face towards the end of your project. Good Knight breaks form from the rest of the album a little bit with an unwaveringly featured chord progression, and then the titular penultimate track Soon it Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires optimistically answers the question about the album’s title which you didn’t know you had.

Finally, here’s a quick insider tip regarding the albums last track Anthem: queue that soaring finale up as many times as necessary as the album draws to a close, and no project can escape your clutches unfinished.

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