Bora York is Minneapolis-based husband-and-wife duo Chris and Rebekah Bartels. Their 2013 debut album Dreaming Free was birthed as a music school senior project for Chris, and initially intended as a folk album. In the midst of writing, he started experimenting non-stop with synths and ambient textures, and folk was ditched for a full-on synth pop sound.
A year later, their follow-up single “Let Loose” introduced a funkier side, garnering praise from the music blogosphere, with Neon Gold raving, “summertime radness coming in hot today,” and Indie Shuffle saying they had it “on constant replay throughout the weekend.” The single was part of Secret Youth - their tighter, more dance-driven sophomore effort in 2015.
A slow but steady process, and in the midst of raising three boys under the age of six, Chris and Rebekah compiled nearly 70 demos in the years that followed, a handful of which make up their third album, Emotion Vertigo. While certainly borrowing personalities from their first two albums, such as the washy dream-pop sound of the debut, the danceability of Secret Youth, and catchy choruses of both albums, this effort delves into deeper, more experimental and unique sounds. The album was recorded at their Minneapolis home studio, and was released independently through his own Anthem Falls Music in November 2019.
The four and half years of writing the album were far from a smooth process, especially for Chris, Bora York’s most involved songwriter and producer. In a seemingly endless creative funk, he considered the idea of calling it quits on the project entirely. There was a turning point when he stepped back and realized he had let his worries and insecurities of what Bora York “should or shouldn’t look like.” This process of ups and downs led to the creation of a collection of songs spanning an entire spectrum of emotion, thus giving the album title, Emotion Vertigo, its place. It was a passionate step back to what it’s all about - the music.