October 21, 2009
I'm a bit late on the Emeralds bandwagon, I guess. The first time they circulated the internet (would use the term "blogosphere" but for the similarity between that term and the name of this blog. don't want to connote self-importance), I didn't "get" what the "big deal" was. I still don't! (Nah, jk. They're pretty good.)
I could call them "hyperactive ambient" - this is possibly a personal bias, because I tend to listen to them between one and four in the morning when I'm having trouble getting to sleep (a common side-effect of Adderall) or when I'm having trouble writing a paper (a common symptom of that which causes me to take Adderall).
The more musical reason is that the trio tends to do a lot with very little. There's an abundance of noise happening here, and much to get distracted by (ha): Synth flourishes with distinguishable notes and complex patterns, for one thing, juxtapose sharply against slow atmospheric swells. Mark McGuire (for another thing) plays obvious guitar - meaning, there's no guessing game of ohhh is that a synth tide coming in or an e-bow conjuring currents? He really riffs out, and it's enthralling, never cheesy. This is far from background listening.
These are the three albums of theirs that I have been listening to lately. Get 'em, if you haven't yet. And don't worry if you feel nothing immediately - the time will come. Maybe between one and four in the morning, when you're wide awake, and/or falling asleep.
The Overlook Tour CS - Sold on their European tour, March 2009. Limited to 75 copies. The captivating second half of Side B is the best.
What Happened - Technically a full-length recording, but comprised of five improvisational pieces that were recorded over the course of two years. Released in January of this year.
Emeralds - Self-titled and most recent (?), released in September.