Having opened for EMIKA at the Berlin-based producer’s most recent London gig at the end of 2019, it is fitting that GEISTE has her new EP ‘Ashes’ released on Emika Records.

“She never let go of the little child within her” her new label boss Ema Jolly aka EMIKA said, “telling the story through her music of how we as children of this planet, destroy our Earth but never let go of hope in order to start again and learn to live in harmony with ourselves”. Reviewing her 2020 debut EP ‘Utopia’, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK had suggested that if JRR Tolkien had manufactured pop stars, he would have come up with GEISTE.

Born in the south of France, GEISTE is the nom de théâtre of Marie Chabrelie and her voice has drawn comparisons with Cat Power and Lorde. Seeded during the pandemic, the isolation while observing world events brought inspiration through upset and rage.

On board ‘Ashes’ to develop the fragile but fiery sound of GEISTE is Finnish co-producer Karri Mikkonen, noted for his work in modern South East Asian pop. With a sparse backdrop comprising of an ivory motif, the title song sets the scene with an emotive chill, washes of virtual strings and haunting layers of voices. ‘Immortal’ allows for some artful playfulness in its intro before the song moves into the epic Nordic territory reminiscent of Susanne Sundfør.

A key number is ‘Golden’ which exudes the confident artist who has developed since ‘Utopia’; it features a superb vocal delivery on top of an expansive filmic arrangement, highlighting the sonic leap nurtured in collaboration with Karri Mikkonen. Playing with more organic textures, ‘Until I Come Back’ is heartfelt, but punctuated with alternating rhythmic passages, ‘22 59’ veers into prog rock with an unexpected guitar solo.

Closing proceedings, the angelic ‘Wake Me Up’ is neo-acapella with some gorgeous harmonies but halfway through comes a steady percussive build towards a widescreen crescendo.

Mixing lush electronically constructed soundscapes, appropriate beat mantras and powerful poetic prose, ‘Ashes’ is as bewitching as past GEISTE works. But thanks to the input of Karri Mikkonen and Ema Jolly, a new maturity has emerged that has allowed Marie Chabrelie to express herself in an even more direct honest fashion while still retaining her fantasial mystery.

‘Ashes’ is released as a digital EP via Emika Records






Text by Chi Ming Lai
31st March 2023