Emancipator (musician)

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Emancipator in Istanbul in 2013
Background information
Birth nameDouglas Appling
Also known asEmancipator
Born (1987-05-27) May 27, 1987 (age 36)
Virginia, U.S.
OriginPortland, Oregon, U.S.
Occupation(s)Producer, DJ
Instrument(s)Drums, violin, guitar, keyboard
Years active2006–present
LabelsLoci Records, Emancipator Music, Hydeout Productions, 1320 Records

Douglas Appling (born May 27, 1987), better known by his stage name, Emancipator, is an American producer and DJ based in Portland, Oregon, United States. He launched his music career by self-releasing his debut album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, in 2006 while he was a college student.[1] He has released eight studio albums (two of which are collaboration albums), two live albums, five EPs and three remix collections. He also founded his own record label, Loci Records, in 2012 and formed a live band called the Emancipator Ensemble in 2013.[2]

Early life[edit]

Doug Appling was born and raised in Virginia, where he studied violin from ages 4 to 12, progressing to electric guitar, drums and bass as a teenager. He cites his father's "eclectic music collection" as sparking his interest in electronic music, while his mother "who'd volunteered in the Peace Corps" exposed him to "African thumb pianos and sounds from beyond the Western palette."[1] He played drums in a rock group in high school that won its prom's "battle of the bands" competition.[1] On how he got his start producing, Appling stated, "I got hooked on [producing electronic music] when I started chopping up loops in Acid Pro for fun in high school."[3] After high school, Doug attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, completing an undergraduate degree in psychology. While there, he took a number of classes in music theory, which influenced him as an artist.[4] He self-released his first solo album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, under the name "Emancipator" in 2006. Distribution was limited since he burned the CDs at home, sold them via his MySpace channel and "hand-delivered them to the post office every week."[1]


In late 2007, Emancipator came to the attention of Nujabes' Japanese label, Hydeout Productions, which re-released Soon It Will Be Cold Enough in April 2008. Moving to his current home of Portland, Oregon, in 2009, he played his first live U.S. show as the opening act for Bonobo, who Appling admits is "one of [his] favorite producers."[4] This, along with a tour of Japan in 2008–2009, helped to provide exposure to larger audiences both at home and abroad. During this timeframe, he switched from using Acid Pro and Reason to using Ableton Live as his music sequencer and digital audio workstation software for all of his productions.[1] His second album, Safe in the Steep Cliffs, was released in January 2010 on the Hydeout label to some acclaim.[5] Remixes, an album of reworked versions of Emancipator tracks by Blockhead, Big Gigantic, Tor and others, was self-released in 2011.[6] Around this time, Appling began touring with a live violinist, Ilya Goldberg; the duo drew positive critical attention.[7] In 2012, Appling founded his own label, Loci Records, and released the album Drum Therapy by Tor as the label's debut album.[8]

2013 saw the release of Emancipator's third studio album, Dusk to Dawn, his first album on Loci Records. Significant touring and studio work followed the release of the record and a four-piece full-band, Emancipator Ensemble, debuted for live audiences.[9]

In 2015, Emancipator released his first live album, Live from Athens, in June; his second remix album, Dusk to Dawn Remixes, in July; and his fourth studio album, Seven Seas, in September.[10][11]

Emancipator's fifth studio album, Baralku, was released in November 2017.[12] The album, named for a spiritual island where some Australian indigenous tribes believe the dead reside,[13] was supported by three singles: "Ghost Pong," "Goodness" and "Baralku."[14][15]

In January 2020, Emancipator released a new single, "Labyrinth," along with the title of his sixth studio album, Mountain of Memory, and announced a tour for the album. At the end of February 2020, Emancipator released his second single off the album, "Iron Ox."[16] On April 3, 2020, Emancipator released his sixth studio album, Mountain of Memory.[17]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Release date
Soon It Will Be Cold Enough January 19, 2006[18] (re-released April 25, 2008, on Hydeout Productions)[19]
Safe in the Steep Cliffs January 19, 2010
Dusk to Dawn January 29, 2013
Seven Seas September 25, 2015
Baralku November 17, 2017
Mountain of Memory April 3, 2020
Dab Records, Vol. 1 (with Dab Records and Asher Fulero) January 29, 2021
11th Orbit (with Lapa) September 23, 2022


Title Release date
Maps & Father King November 11, 2016
Cheeba Gold (with 9 Theory) March 22, 2019
A Thousand Clouds (with 9 Theory) December 11, 2020
Xylem (with Rena Jones and Flowerpulse) April 9, 2021
Citrus Fever Dream (with Cloudchord) July 16, 2021

Remix albums[edit]

Title Release date
Remixes[20] June 21, 2011
Dusk to Dawn Remixes July 8, 2015
Mountain of Memory (Remixes) October 9, 2020

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Live in Athens Released June 4, 2015[21]
Recorded live at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia, on February 22, 2014
Baralku Tour Released December 13, 2019


Title Song details
"Shook (Sigur Ros X Mobb Deep)" Released April 20, 2011
Mashup of Sigur Rós's "Untitled 1" and Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones Part II"
"Maps" Originally released as a track on Soon It Will Be Cold Enough in 2006, this song was omitted from Nujabes's remastered version of the album in 2008.[3]
Re-released April 20, 2011
"Father King" Originally released as a track on Soon It Will Be Cold Enough in 2006, this song was omitted from Nujabes's remastered version of the album in 2008.[3]
Re-released April 20, 2011
"Elephant Survival" Released December 15, 2011
Mashup of Elephant Revival's "Forgiveness" and Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing"
"Kids/Truman Sleeps" Released September 30, 2015
Mashup of MGMT's "Kids" and the theme from The Truman Show
"Ghost Pong" Released August 22, 2017
"Goodness" Released September 20, 2017
"Baralku" Released October 23, 2017
"Cheeba" Released March 8, 2019
"The Bridge (feat. Lapa, Frameworks & TOR)" Released August 23, 2019
"Himalayan" Released March 2020
"Sea To Sky (feat. Murge)" Released March 18, 2022


  1. ^ a b c d e Greenwald, David (25 March 2014). "From violin to Ableton: Inside Emancipator's evolving electronic world". The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  2. ^ Osorno, Allie (25 Oct 2015). ""Emancipator" Review". The Vermont Cynic. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "IAMA with Doug Appling: "Hey Reddit! I'm Doug Appling, better known as electronic artist Emancipator. Ask me about life, production, owning a record label, and everything in-between!"". Reddit. 24 Sep 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Carelli, Alexandra Marie (7 May 2010). "Interview with Doug Appling: Emancipator". SFGate. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  5. ^ Fisher, Tyler (17 Feb 2010). "Emancipator - Safe In The Steep Cliffs (review)". SputnikMusic. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  6. ^ Simpson, Paul. "Artist Biography - Emancipator". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  7. ^ Pareles, Jon (3 Feb 2012). "Laptops and Hip-Hop Hang Out With a Violin: Emancipator Plays at Highline Ballroom". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Tor new album 'Blue Book' announced + premier of first single "Days Gone"". Loci Records. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  9. ^ Womeldorph, Zane (21 Nov 2013). "Emancipator Ensemble review / Boulder Theater (Boulder, CO)". The UNTZ. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  10. ^ Greenwald, David (25 Sep 2015). "Emancipator releases new album, 'Seven Seas'". The Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Emancipator taps into his scopious musical roots on the exemplary 'Baralku' [Album Review]". Dancing Astronaut. 2017-11-20. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  12. ^ "Emancipator Baralku". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  13. ^ "Emancipator Releases Earthy New Album 'Baralku'". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  14. ^ "Emancipator announces 'Baralku' and shares new single "Goodness" [Premiere] - EARMILK". EARMILK. 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  15. ^ "Emancipator shares new track 'Baralku,' announces tour". Dancing Astronaut. 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  16. ^ "Emancipator (@emanc) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  17. ^ "Mountain of Memory | EmancipatorMusic". emancipatormusic.com.
  18. ^ "Emancipator - Soon It Will Be Cold Enough". Discogs.
  19. ^ "Emancipator - Soon It Will Be Cold Enough". Discogs.
  20. ^ "Emancipator - Remixes". Discogs.
  21. ^ "Live In Athens - emancipator". emancipator. 4 June 2015.

External links[edit]