What So Not has officially become a solo endeavor, following Flume‘s final contribution to the project on 2015’s Gemini EP. Now that the duo has divided, Chris “Emoh Instead” Emerson has clarified his intention of musical conquest with the project’s solo debut EP, Divide & Conquer. What So Not has undoubtedly changed in shape and form since 2013’s The Quack, and the project’s latest studio effort manifests as a much more conceptual collection than previous releases. Emoh’s primary objective now seems to lie in expounding on the space between electronic dance and electronic experimentation – a balance that his new EP artfully strikes in an impressive way.
Divide & Conquer is introduced by its titular track, a gritty brew of distorted chord work, followed quickly by a tempering piano interlude – aptly called “Severance.” Collaborations provide the central focus for the EP, such as the previously released “Lone,” with fellow Aussie producer Ganz, and “Buried,” a joint effort with vocalists George Maple and Rome Fortune. Kimbra’s vocals accent the distant, futuristic composition of “Montreal,” while the penultimate piece, “Trust,” sees Emoh enlist BURNS to blend R&B with heavy, percussive synth arrangements. The collection closes with “Adieu,” an outro that is simultaneously melodic and discordant, acting as a challenging contrast against the bevy of collaborations that center the EP.
What So Not has always been a collaborative effort, and though Chris Emerson is officially the sole proprietor of the project, he demonstrates that the motif of collaboration will remain an integral part of his new vision. However, Emoh’s deviation from What So Not’s style prior to the divide indicates that he is clearly ready to drive the project forward on his own and conquer new musical horizons.