Stewing in the ideals of freedom and self-inflicted entrapment, comes EMÆL’s contemporary representation of a mind threatened with its own anarchy on the alluring video “Le Lac,” which is premiering today on EARMILK. Taken off their newly released 3-track EP, Introspectre, the video sees the ensemble develop themes first heard on their 2018 full-length, Glasswork, and tie loose ends before proceeding into the next chapter of their discography.
As the most arresting track from the EP, “Le Lac” -- French for “the lake” -- sees its visual counterpart brimming with symbolic mementos that are mated softly with pensive lyrics. Isolating the expansive and cinematic score that the track naturally carries, sets the video’s opening scene as a coming of age novella -- which makes sense as the video pulls inspiration by Alphonse de Lamartine's poem that carries the same name. Frontman Emannauel Ventrura-Cruess wistfully begins to vocalize his narration as he floats on a crystallized body of water, while Alyssa Cantal becomes the focus of the video, lending her vocals between verses, navigating the general pavement of life.
Grounding this atmospheric and classical arrangement comes a well placed discerning guitar. Ventrura-Cruess is now replaced with a mirror, which bounces its light and reflection back to Cantal, and leads the video to a distraught realm. Initially, there is a carefree and dreamy caress delivered on “Le Lac” but that cleverly comes to halt upon realization of the track’s most compelling line, “this clock is not a cage.” Fittingly orchestrated to the philosophy of the mind leaving the body, or leaving the past in the past, simmers back to the haunting encapsulation of a false reality.
"'Le Lac' (the song) is all about perspective (mainly our perspective on our relationships) and traversing all that is thrown at us in life," explains Ventrura-Cruess. "Wishing your past happiness would remain intact in the way that nature remains unchanged. Cherish your relationships to breathe fire into life because our consciousness and perceptions are ever-changing, making it hard to stay grounded in our happiness."
Isaiah and Kammi Valdez’s direction build thematically around the band’s usage of water, first heard and seen on the EP’s lead single “Steam in the Faucet,” and touches on the formlessness and the rebirth association of the element. Michael Womack (guitar and vocals), Joris Hoogsteder (drums) and Daniel Kristoff (keyboard) surface for their signature uniformed live performance and saturate the break with a full and daunting aurora that peak with a subtle tinge of rage.
The cut’s time changes, fluid rhythm structures, and disarming charm steal the video’s thunder. Ventrura-Cruess’ versatile cello pierces yet soothes latter verses, while shots of the singer submerged, rather than floating, emulate the sonic shift. Carefully construed with avant-garde, chamber-pop arrangements, the 5-piece continues to enthrall as innovators.
Despite Introspectre bearing 3-tracks, the roughly 10-minute project delivers more than a full-length album. “Le Lac” acts as a final piece of a heavy, inverted reflection, whereas tracks such as “Diotima” allows moments to pause and breathe, anticipating the next installment from EMÆL.