PHABRIK Magazine

Pop Collage

By Avery Kremer

March 2015

COSMETICS Brave a New Wave World

Take the softness of airy, feminine vocals and bathe them in the sultry ominousness of moody repetition. Add an analog synth. Repeat with simplistic rhythms worthy of a pulsating dance floor.

You’ve now entered the effortlessly cool reality of Vancouver’s minimal synth crew, COSMETICS. Even the band’s name alludes to an authentic new wave structure, stripped down and artificially dynamic. It is a minimalism conducive to the sparse, repetitive melodies and noir motivations of this synthesized dance duo.

COSMETICS formed in 2008 when Aja Emma started producing music with Nic M. Emma lends her voice and synthesizer talents, while M brings his unique flair on the synthesizer as well as the duo’s rhythm and production. They write and record their self-described pop collage sound at their OUI! home studio in Vancouver, Canada.

This stripped-down genre, an interesting take on pop music, is certainly dance floor worthy! In 2010, Brooklyn label Captured Tracks released their 7″ debut entitled “Soft Skin.” The following year, their pop-synth production, “The Cries,” galvanized the Milan runways, creating a haunting, dramatic atmosphere at the Versace Spring/Summer collection.

Currently, COSMETICS’s release list from label Captured Tracks includes “Olympia…Plus,” a compilation LP of their finest, circa 2010-2013 productions, one EP, and a few singles including “Black Leather Gloves” and “Sleepwalking.” With a long-awaited debut album and a European tour underway, this west coast duo is scaling the new wave world, taking with them their analog synths.

Grand Designs Nepal’s Adornment
Grand Designs
Nepal’s Adornment


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