If you are going to compile a list of most underrated bands of the past 20 years, Emeralds has to be near the top. A three-piece electronica group out of Ohio, Emeralds specialized in hypnotic, droning masterpieces that felt simultaneously somnambulant and exultant. They understood that one twist of the knob or one module tweak could make all the difference — a singular addition that could create a sign of life in the EKG.
Imogen Teasley-Vlautin, who records under the moniker Imogen TV, understands that minimalist approach and wields it to the same intoxicating effect. A product of Mills College’s experimental music program, Imogen TV recently released “Orange 15,” a chilling and mesmerizing track.
A video of a live performance of “Orange 15,” captured for Fact Magazine’s Patch Notes feature, is the latest rendition of Imogen TV’s Orange Series, which can be found on their Instagram page. Like Emeralds, Imogen TV’s electronica sounds are grainy and resonant, with each development casting hazy ripples that ebb and flow throughout the song.
Samples of toy pianos and other analog materials feel echoey and effusive, breaking up the desolate atmosphere brought on by the humming undertones of synths. The song is truly textural, with mountains and valleys of sounds placed intermittently throughout.
Imogen TV created the sounds for “Orange 15” from a personalized modular synth, looping in recurring themes and motifs with a haunting array of samples and effects. A pioneering piece of electronic equipment first developed in the 1950s, the modular synth has a way of sounding both anachronistic and visionary, conjuring up images of rust-eaten space-age vehicles found in outlaw science fiction movies. (Imogen TV has previously worked as a composer scoring films for the Smithsonian and Museum of the African Diaspora SF, so it’s no surprise that their work feels cinematic.)
Based in Oakland, Imogen TV is one of the Bay Area’s most intriguing and interesting new composers. Their Orange Series seems like only a glimpse into an exciting realm of possibilities from a talented and singular voice.