Empress of is the most impressive thing we’ve heard today

With just 11 untitled tracks, no artwork and an abstract name, empress of is the latest anonymous artist to sneak their way from YouTube into our hearts.


Words by: Aimee Cliff

“Come over, I’ll spoon feed you ice cream,/ Let’s dance, I’ll dip you ‘til you lose your breath” empress of coos over the soft, spiralling texture of her layered vocals on the track 6. With a suddenness and a directness that’s disarmingly charming, the singer closes the gap between artist and listener with an immediacy that almost makes you forget that this is an anonymous clip, shared on YouTube this week with absolutely no context or explanation.

6 is the sixth of eleven videos uploaded to the “mpressof” account in the past week, each of which features an exhilarating, frustratingly short track set to a block colour background and a simple, numerical title. There’s no information about whether empress of is one person or a group – but, unlike much other anonymous music that bleeps and bloops its way around YouTube, these tracks have the arrestingly human quality of a starkly beautiful voice and its curious, playful use of language.

As well as sweet, tantalising vocal delivery and verbal experimentation, though, the music shines in its use of soaring synth melodies and clattering, alarming beats. 2 wastes absolutely no time as it rushes breathlessly into your ears, rolling in on a tidal wave of drums, while the “come on, come on!” hook of 3 drives forward a guitar riff-enhanced, loud and angsty pop beat.

Stream four of the most intriguing clips from the account below – but we strongly recommend you go here to listen to the eleven more-or-less minute-long videos as a whole. Most of them have less than a hundred views at the time of writing, but it doesn’t seem likely that it will stay that way for long.

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