Emily Reo – “Spell”

It’s been a few years since the release of Emily Reo’s 2013 debut full-length, Olive Juice — a masterful and long-in-the-making blend of Beach House-esque hypnotics and ecclesiastical electro-pop — and, in that time, the Brooklyn-based musician has toured with Foxes In Fiction and Sharpless, and slowly pulled together her sophomore album, which is due to be released next year. Reo’s most recent track was the Yohuna collaboration “Teach You,” which was included on Orchid Tapes’ Radiating Light compilation, and now she has some new solo material to show off: Later this month, Reo will put out a 10″ featuring two new tracks, “Spell” and “Stronger Swimmer,” and today she’s sharing the A-side to the release.

A magical live performance of “Spell” has been floating around for a while now, and the new recorded form retains all of its evocative power. Reo sings through a vocoder: “I can’t feel anything/ I don’t heal anything,” she repeats in a way that mimics depression’s repetitive thought cycles and powerlessness. That chant becomes all-consuming as her voice becomes more intelligible and a 9-part string section orchestrated by Reo and Owen Pallett takes over, transmuting the feelings of isolation and suffocation beyond language altogether. Reo talked about the track in an interview with Rookie:

I wrote this song during a long period of time when I had been feeling emotionally numb, and literally “couldn’t feel anything.” I was diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder a few months later. I’ve been struggling with different forms and degrees of mental illnesses including OCD, anxiety, and depression since I was eight, so the need to try and cope with whatever is going on in my head wasn’t new, but this particular feeling, or lack thereof, was. I was scared I’d never get to experience enjoyment again and was just hoping to feel anything at all, even the bad stuff.

Read the rest of that interview here, and listen to the new track below.

The “Spell” b/w “Stronger Swimmer” 10″ is out 10/28 via Orchid Tapes. Pre-order it here.

Tags: Emily Reo