Emily Ritz is a musician and visual artist who creates otherworldly soul music. A native New Yorker, Ritz spent nearly a decade in the Bay Area making art and performing/releasing music with bands Yesway, Honeycomb, and DRMS. Though her music and art remain very much inspired by the lush landscapes of Northern California, Ritz moved back East to Hudson, NY in 2016. There, she began performing under her own name for the first time and recorded her first solo album Pattern Recess.
Over the years Emily has shared the stage with artists such as Deradoorian, Toro Y Moi, Laura Veirs and Mirah, and collaborated with members of My Morning Jacket, Thao With The Get Down Stay Down, and Two Gallants.
Ritz struggles with Lyme-related arthritis, which at times has left her totally disabled. If you listen closely to her songs, you can hear her experience of feeling trapped in her body, while trying to hold on to the hope for a return to health. The darkness and devastation that comes from loss of mobility is certainly felt, yet the overwhelming sensation given off by these songs is one of healing. It’s rare to find an artist through whom the bliss of creation flows so freely.
Pattern Recess is guided by Ritz’s strong, soulful voice and experimental sensibility. While classic elements of jazz and R&B can be heard, Ritz's sound is enticingly off-kilter due to her subtly unusual melodic choices and inventive use of electronic manipulation. She uses her voice to weave complex harmonies and avant-garde patterns while delivering poignant and romantic lyrics. Confident and idiosyncratic, Ritz calls forth other bold female artists such as Jenny Hval, Amy Winehouse, Circuit Des Yeux, Solange, and early Grimes.
The production on Pattern Recess is varied and fresh. Underneath Ritz’s powerful vocals, her reverb-drenched guitar picking ripples like waves on a pool. Amidst the dreamy fluidity, are moments of charmingly inventive percussion and unexpected instrumentation. Odd time signatures and satisfying syncopation deftly brandish excitement and the occasional sci-fi sound effect adds a playfully cosmic tone. While her intimate songwriting and delicate fingerpicking are akin to the contemporary folk of Jessica Pratt and Angel Olsen, electronic neo-soul twinges call forth the seductive trip-hop of James Blake.
Pattern Recess was released on April 27th, followed by a solo tour during which Emily played 26 shows across the US and back. She is planning on another US tour this winter and is currently recording her next record.
For more information about her music video with Camila Falquez check out http://takeitbackproject.com/