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Emileigh Rohn is a Detroit-based indie artist, best known for her Industrial/Electronica project, Chiasm. As a completely self-made artist, she has received excellent reviews for her work, which is often described as “memorable” “ethereal” “atmospheric” “gritty” and “dark”, with soul searching lyrics and haunting vocals. Since the release of her first “official” album, Disorder (containing such memorable tracks as “Isolated”, “Formula”, and “Transparent”) she has developed a sizable fan base, though is relatively unknown outside the underground music scene.
Though many would classify her work as having a strong gothic vibe (having been influenced by the likes of Project Pitchfork and Skinny Puppy), many of her tracks, particularly on the album Reform, contain sounds of hope and light. Her music is comprised of intelligently written lyrics and provides more than just standard club fare. What’s most impressive is how Emileigh is one of the rare artists that maintains 100% creative control over her music. What you get is completely Emileigh. She produces, writes, programs, and performs all of her work (remixes and covers excluded, naturally).
Her Bio: Chiasm (pronounced as the greek letter X, /kaI/, rhyming with sky, then “asm”) is a female industrial-influenced electronic solo project from Detroit, MI, created by Emileigh Rohn in 1997. It was named after the optic chiasm, a neuronal brain structure shaped as an “X”. She self-released her first demo album, “Embryonic” in 1998.
COP International records signed her in 1999, appearing on the prestigious female-fronted compilation “Diva X Machina vol. 3” with the self-titled track, “Chiasm”. Many local releases and participation in performances followed including collaboration with the Detroit Electronica Coalition.
The first official full-length album “Disorder” was released in 2001, and it continues to receive worldwide acclaim. The remix album with labelmate TL5, “Divided We Fall”, followed in 2003, and then the continuing solo albums “Relapse” in 2005, and “Reform” in 2008, with the popular digital EPs “Prefrontal”(2006), “Apple Island”(2009), and “Obligatory”(2012)inbetween.
Chiasm has played many live shows both headlining and with well-known industrial acts in the midwest United States and Canada. She has collaborated with other artists in the genre providing vocals, lyrics, and remixes available on their albums and additional compilations.
Her fourth full-length solo album, “11:11” is about to be released on COP International records. It was self-recorded, written, programmed, and produced herself in her studio, the MausHaus. The name “11:11” is in itself a mirror-image numerical “chiasm” chosen in reference to the time of day. This 11 song album continues her journey of self-exploration with a dark pulsating grasp on reality, incorporating her imaginative mind with her scientific background for an emotionally captivating musical experience.
Its release closely follows the 2012 digital EP, “Obligatory”, which contains a 2.0 version and remix of the title track as well as a new track titled “Don’t Panic” (with Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in mind), and two remixes of the track “Reliance” which appeared on the demo album “Embryonic” but was re-recorded for “11:11”. The original version of “Obligatory” is found on the upcoming “11:11” album as well.
Fans of Chiasm may have discovered her through the inclusion of her song, “Isolated”, available on the 2001 debut album “Disorder”, on the Vampire the Masquerade, “Bloodlines” PC game or in the Navy:NCIS episode, “Marine Down”. She keeps in touch with her fans with frequent updates and videos on her official Facebook page and her official website: http://www.chiasm.org, and incorporates fan contributions in song projects such as “Draw A House” (song also featured on “11:11”) and the current/future song project, “Evil Mad Libs”.
Her music has been featured in no less than 12 compilation albums. She has collaborated with Threat Level 5 (TL5), Caphax Files, ZIA, J.C. Slaughter, Vigilante, and Louis Diaz.
Bio at Wikipedia:
At the age of five, Emileigh Rohn began taking piano lessons from her church organist, Mildred Benson, and eventually began singing solos in church. By the age of 13 she received a Casiotonekeyboard and began experimenting with electronic music. In her final year of high school she joined an experimental/industrial performance art group called Inter Animi.
In the fall of 1997, while studying molecular biology in Detroit, Rohn joined Calvin P. Simmons in his project Dragon Tears Descending (DTD) as a keyboardist doing performances and supporting other bands. Rohn then left DTD and formed her own project Electrophoretic Transfer with sampling from Shane Terpening by 1998.
Chiasm began in 1998 when Rohn began to entirely produce her own music with her first demo CD named “Embryonic” completed in October. Her song “Bouncing Baby Clones” featured on a Detroit Electronica compilation CD, D[elEcTROnIc]T, in the spring of 1999. In October 1998, Rohn self-released her debut album, Embryonic on Rodent Recordings and promoted it with instrumental musicians not featured on the album.
Released in March 2001. A remix album with labelmate Threat Level 5, entitled “Divided We Fall”, was also released in 2003. The track “Isolated” was later used in the NCIS episode “Marine Down” and the Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines computer game. The song “Formula” contains audio samples from Independence Day (film).
- Chiasm 5.0
Released in May 2005.
- Chosen Fate
BONUS TRACKS: Rewind (Floating Tears Mix by ZIA), Surrender (Dark Techno Mix by Threat Level)
Released in April 2006. Only available on iTunes.
- Prefrontal, Part 1
- Prefrontal, Part 2
- Prefrontal (Carphax Files Remix)
- Biomod “Seed” (Chiasm Mix)
- Biomod “Seed” (Piano Mix)
- A Girl Called Harmony
Released in September 2008.
- The Caffeine Cycle
- A Section Of Time
Released in May 2009.
- Apple Island
- Fake Smile
- Major Tom (English version)
- Reform (Soil & Eclipse remix)
- Won (:10: remix)
Released in February 2012. Only available on iTunes.
- Don’t Panic
- Obligatory 2.0
- Obligatory (DYM remix)
- Reliance (Eric Chamberlain Remix)
- Reliance (Red Flag Remix)
For a more extensive discography go here.
Let’s look at a few reviews:
Disorder (2001) –
Darklight for Wrapped In Wire:
Electro-girl, Emileigh Rohn, has finally released this debut after an impressive promo EP. I was looking forward to this album, and I am happy to report that I’m not disappointed.
This is a very well put together album with the songs all placed in a good order. Emileigh is a very talented artist really showing off her creativity and skills here. Not only does she have a unique and nice singing voice, but she can also create electronic music just as well as a lot of the bigger more established acts in the scene.
This is a strong debut for her that should gain her some well deserved recognition. There’s really not a bad track offered here, and the originality and variety makes for a refreshing release.
Basically, what Emileigh delivers here are dark, cold and haunting electro-industrial songs with touches of darkwave beauty and clubfloor energy. Well layered electro sounds, effects and beats are placed over dramatically orchestrated soundscapes. Emileigh mixes her singing with the music perfectly delivering both moments of anger and moments of enchantment.
For the most part, the songs are mid-tempo with Emileigh singing softly with melody. But from time-to-time the music gets energy charged, and then Emileigh snarls with anger along with it. She’s a very emotional and passionate singer that releases a lot of moods and feelings here.
Everyhting here is interesting and enjoyable to listen to. The music combines futuristic sci-fi sounds along with heavy bass beats making for a creative audio journey. While there’s a touch of darkwave to be heard here, this music never really sounds gothic. It all sticks to the electro-industrial/dark EBM genre.
My favorite songs on the album include “Transparent”, “Disorder”, “Fight” and“Isolated”. The last song on the CD “Someone” is quite interesting because Emileigh sounds almost exactly like Bjork.
My only complaint with some of the songs here is that they can be a bit too mellow. It would have been nice if Emileigh included more energetic clubfloor tracks. Hopefully she will on her next release.
Doc Benway for Outburn Magazine:
One Woman EBM Show: Chiasm (aka Emileigh Rohn) brings you a big helping of inner angst and turmoil on the COP debut, Disorder. Rohn’s voice is somewhere between Björk and kaRIN of Collide — soothing in sound and yet jarring in message. The collection of songs are as well crafted as any in the EBM world, so it is worth mentioning that this entire album was written, programmed, performed, and produced single handedly by Rohn. While there are plenty of talented women in the dark electro scene, there are still few who have taken on the absolute control of an album and done it so well. Songs like “Chiasm 5.0,” “Liquefy,” and “Isolated” keep the pace of the album seething along while “Transparent,” “Disorder,”, and “Cold” help to balance things out with slower, simmering sounds that are still just as ominous and forceful. With “Fight” there are fast paced beats and torn lyrics; it doesn’t get any better for the dancefloor than this. On the other end of the spectrum is the haunting “Someone” where Rohn allows her touching vocals to shine over an efficiently minimal and stark rhythm. In the end, my only problem with Disorder became the truly painful lyrics. Not to down play their emotional content or value, but there’s only so much introspection and shattering catharsis a listener can take. Otherwise, it’s thumbs up to this obviously talented newcomer in Chiasm.
Relapse (2005) –
Marcus Pan for Legends Magazine:
“I first heard of Chiasm on the DEC(1) releases. Also five years ago their self-titled review was about(2), of which staff writer Govella wrote: “Chiasm immediately stands out as more intellectual than your typical electro fare. Leaving behind the tyranny of the beat…” A truly invigorating and truthful quote and Emilie has done nothing but improve her intellectual style since then with the release of Relapse.
The subtly breathed Embryonic that utilizes surrounding electronics as a driving factor and only very minimal rhythm make up open Relapse wonderfully. The classical style, slow dirge piano that opensStill is also pleasantly if simply arranged. X-Ray really does come across sounding like that in some futuristic hybrid surrealist way. The spurts of fast-hit rhythms are attention grabbers and Emiliegh’s vocals, while always angellic, take on an even more effervescent quality. Track seven, Incision, sounds like it might be so pretty at its outset but is so severely scratched on my CD submission I can’t do naught but wish for it.
Delay laces garbled voices into its introduction before opening into lower-octave song than we’ve seen thus far. It drags across the floor schtoppily to a minimal rhythm that will cut out without warning leaving you clinging only to Rohn’s concise alto voice. Phobicspeeds things up nicely before we get a little low-down dirty with the following Needle on track 9.
Needle bubbles up from a deep growl below, saturating above in a strange ethereal twisting mass of interestingness. The RelapseCD closes with two remixes of previous tracks – Rewind and Surrender with different takes on each. The Floating Tears Mix (by Zentriert ins Antitz) is somewhat lengthy, but pleasing to the ear with very bubbly synthetics and high pitched melodies coalesced against darker rhythms. The high-octave melody versus the low-octave rhythm formula has usually made pretty decent material.
I really dig Relapse, for its modern make-up and bar-pushing creation. Rohn doesn’t stick too close to convention and pushes on what synths can do, showing their qualities as much for melodic intonations as for rhythmic percussion. Better than I remember the previous self-titled release and much wiser in its make-up, Relapse is sure to please both electro/industrial fans as well as those looking for a new diva to follow blissfully behind.”
Donovan Tate at Chain D.L.K. – 5/5 stars
Magnificent. Chiasm (aka Emileigh Rohn) has really done it here with her new cd masterpiece, “Relapse”. This is a follow up from her previous critical acclaimed release “Disorder”, a second full length album on California’s COP International Records. Its signature sound is electronic/industrial with passionate ethereal vocals, excellent and moving lyricism. Each track on disc is worth listening to without skipping. Songs about love, pain, escaping the past, and looking for one’s self to have a perfect life. Emileigh delivers another power punch album that’s very emotional, simply wonderful, abroad, and catchy melodies, driving synths and samples. Two mixes as bonus tracks “Rewind (Floating Tears Mix by Zentriert ins Antlitz)” and “Surrender (Dark Techno Mix by TL5)” are included. Highlight tracks include “Embryonic”, “Delay”, “Still” and “Phobic”. Pick up the album.
Reform (2008) –
Mathew Johnson for Grave Concerns E-Zine:
On her third album, Chiasm’s Emileigh Rohn moves into more atmospheric territory; the foundation is still EBM and industrial dance music, but the mood is less aggression than thoughtful melancholy. “Deny” starts things off with one of the album’s harder moments, but then moves into something that’s fast but light on its feet, Rohn’s wispy vocals spinning in multiple loops across an uptempo drum sequence. Both “Unity” and “The Caffeine Cycle” do an excellent job bridging Rohn’s hard electronic roots with her softer side; the first uses bleak synths and a slow mournful beat, but augment it with clanking metallic effects for an industrial edge, while the latter contrasts a classic dark EBM sound, all drenched in reverb, with deliberately feminine singing. Title track “Reform” is similar, the rhythm a brooding stomp, the vocals delicate and girlish. Where Rohn’s work really takes off, however, is when she integrates more organic-sounding instrument patches into the arrangements. The album’s highlight, “A Section of Time,” pairs glassy harp-like arpeggios with rich synthesizers and haunting vocals; it’s ethereal music made by machines, rather like Android Lust’s quieter moments. Likewise, “Won” brings in warm organs, pianos, and string patches for a sense of quiet grandeur, and closing track “Extinguish” ends things on a dreamy note, with softened pianos, synthesized violins, and delicate glitch effects. Rohn’s most mature album yet, this release still has enough of that classic feel to keep fans happy while adding more melody and emotion for a broader appeal. Fans of Yendri, Android Lust, and Diary of Dreams should especially enjoy this one.
For more reviews, go here.
Disorder: time enters space/now is erased/drugs rape the mind/kills all you find/in a world of disorder i lie awake/knowing there’s nothing i can do/in a world of disorder i lie awake/ knowing there’s something i can do/take what you love/prey from above/cry as you heal/smile as they kneel/in a world of disorder i lie awake/ knowing there’s nothing i can do/in a world of disorder i lie awake/knowing there’s something i can do/run from the fate/curse as they wait/fly as you’re still/play at your will
Formula: kick/snare/kick/release me/no peace/the clones they want to be/ you’ll never find in me/they yearn to be the same/ how could they be so plain/ they wanted love too much/ come here and beg to touch/ I’ll hold onto the truth/ and grasp onto my youth/ repeated jealous phobia/ I know it’s just a formula/ what is normal?/what everyone else is and you are not/what is normal?/what everyone else is and you are not/when will there be something rare/you know someone has got to care/all that lingers everywhere is never-ending kick/snare/kick/snare/insert sample here/ i’ll never be the same/ i’m left with what remains/of what they thought was lost/i’ll have to bear the cost/for years i tried to do/all that could not be true/i’ll have to learn to be/what lurks inside of me/the way you once were with me then/reminded me you were a friend/and now that we’ve remained apart/i’ve found another’s broken heart/alone i’ve cried and felt the pain/we’ll have through life again, again/ but love will heal our souls at last/and let us live without the past/repeated jealous phobia/ i know it’s just a formula
Incubate: lies that you created/ for too long inside they incubated/ overgrown and overworked and overzealous gone berserk/ this time that we have wasted/ special made like wine that we had tasted/ never ripe and never good your purpose so misunderstood/ this time/ is mine/ grown to be inside me/ will it leave or will it breed/ this hate that we’ve uncovered/ every path is leading to another/ built inside as anger cried and can’t forget that people died/ still blind to human faces/ sympathy cools fast with random traces/ constant brewing racing back and multiplied we fear attack/ this time/ is mine/ darkened greed an empty seed/ still indeed we’ve all been freed/ this case/ constant state forever/ daily task in numbness we persevere/ yet to teach a way to reach yet with remorse we stay the course/ and charge as once conflicted/ must persist and yet we are restricted/ once again enough to send a voice to choose as anger brews/ this time/ falling back/ risk attack/ all is hate/ make us wait/ recreate/ incubate/ overworked/ gone berserk/ all is waste/ had a taste/ never good/ understood/ anger brews/ time to choose/ recreate/ incubate
Isolated: isolated /alone apart /i’ll never crawl again/ i’ll never fall again /until i’m free /here i stand in this room /caged and trapped inside /seems i’m damned to live a lie /unaware of what’s outside /should i care /for what’s left me behind /and i stare at light that makes me blind /internally there’s nothing left for me to be /i’m here alone /and isolated /have no choice but be isolated /struggling left alone apart /pushed aside made segregated/ struggling left alone apart /see i have no choice but be isolated /threatened forced to extract the heart /pushed aside made segregated /have no choice but be isolated /the monsters make me hide /perhaps i’ll eat myself alive /internally what is there left for me to be /i can’t care for what’s left me behind /and stare at light that makes me blind /these broken walls trap me inside /i’m isolated /have no choice but be isolated /struggling left alone apart /pushed aside made segregated /threatened forced to extract the heart /i’ll never crawl again /i’ll never fall again /until i’m free /and I stare at light that makes me blind /internally there’s nothing left for me to be /i’m here alone and isolated
Liquefy: motionless in time my instincts are a crime/eventually he’ll see it’s swirling into me/the air surrounds my mind/ i’m swimming through the sky/please liquefy my need/ i cannot learn to breathe/can’t keep pretending not to hate/just take me down and shred my fate/this time you’ve got me bound and tied/ my turn is up, your time to hide/these anxious ties restraining me/forgive me now i must go free/ i’ll liquefy your needs/you will not learn to breathe/there’s no escaping now you see/’cause time is suffocating me/ i cannot learn to breathe/eventually i’ll break away/control the gnawing urge to stay/forgive me now i must go free/i cannot learn to breathe
Obligatory 2.0: love/ i can never feel again/ love you used to fall away too much/ now love i hope you’re here to stay/ and now i see/ all that’s lost is meant to be/ there is nothing left but me and you to find all that was still in my mind because now/ i can never feel again/ the way you did that day/ and at morning i will wake to find the truth is severed/ dirt in precious stones/ see through them like my bones in severe weather/ because i can’t face the thought/ it might be gone forever/ love i know you like to play and us now love/ i’m trying hard to make it stay/ but now i see/ all that was is meant to be/ there is nothing left but me and you to find all that was still in my mind/ it is now
Rewind: a time of changing has begun/the leaves are fallen and undone/inside your spirit starts to run/and all my fears are overcome/i feel the time has come and that it’s for real/i see the future turn inside of me/i find i’m ready to rewind/and erase the pain that’s haunted me in time/i watch the days as they fly by/the turmoil ceases to subside/beyond the shadows freedoms hide/and now the chances have arrived/i can’t escape/this feeling that my world’s about to break/and I can’t wait for all that’s built inside to finally wake/ this time I know that what’s ahead will likely overflow/although my fear is bound to grow/as time will show/i can’t escape theknowledge that my world is full of hate/i can’t resist the urge to seek out all that might exist/as I tread on the world may think i’m gone/and erase the pain that’s traced what I’ve become/it’s all undone
Surrender: lie alone/the fog surrounds me and I know that it’s not right/i must escape this awful state of night/so here I tread/and standing still without a phase of sight to dread/the noise completes the pictures in my head/you learn you must surrender/it’s taken time for you to realize/that what you felt is not forever/you find you must surrender/and now you see the world with no disguise/and face the truth of now and never/the rain pours down on me/ the clarity i sought would make us free/but in the depths of fate/the answers drowned beneath this mud of hate/i gasp to breathe the cause/that brought us to this place yet here we pause/ and in the fear of dawn/the innocence I dreamt about is gone
Unity: remember your demise/ you want the world to hate you/ and now you’ve found your prize/ you know I can’t escape you/ together we are drifting/ together we will fall/ together we’re resisting/ together hear our call/ protect my greatest fears/ that somehow I’ll become you/ it’s taken all these years/ to get my distance from you/ we found there’s no disguise/ there had to be a takedown/ and after all these lies/ it all creates a breakdown/ I sit within the nature/ dirt between my toes/ the forest is my shelter/ the lake ahead still flows/ unite become erase ignite survive renew replace revise the thoughts inside you/ create I know you tried to/ decide review restart resist your fears/ rebuild your heart/ prevent the ties that bind you/ and come back from your breakdown/ specks of light and darkness/ bodies to be held/ people to be trusted/ anchors left to weld/
Won: as I walk amongst the shadows/ and reflect on what I’ve done/ all I see ahead is anger/ and I know what I’ve become/ in the end who all has suffered/ in the end what have we done/ in the end who all’s gone crazy/ in the end who all has won?/ will you cry when you have won/ will you scream when you have won/ in the end we’ve just begun/ will you show what you’ve become/ what’s inside when you have won/ what has changed when you have won/ in the end we’ve just begun/ will you show what you’ve become/ your life to me feels far away/ I cannot explain why/ there’s too much to say/ but you’re here for now and so am I/ the past is erased now so let’s give a try/ in life you’ll find a way/ with help you’ll find a way/ in life you’ll learn to stay/ somehow you’ll find a way/ As I walk amongst the shadows/ think of what is yet to come/ all the answers become clouded/ all the images rerun/ in the end who all has suffered/ In the end what have we done/ in the end who all’s gone crazy/ dear god, what have we done?/ as I walk amongst the shadows/ and reflect on what I’ve done/ all I see ahead is anger/ and I know what I’ve become
Some sites to view:
Be sure to check out her music video page on youtube!