Agitated Atmosphere: Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Emeralds.

This isn’t the first time Agitated Atmosphere has shifted its focus onto the futuristic synth and guitar of heady Cleveland trio, Emeralds. You may recall the review of the band’s self-titled and self-released album, which delved a bit into the mythos of Emeralds and how limited descriptors of the band had become.

Listen to “Candy Shoppe”:

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Their latest album, Does it Look Like I’m Here?, falls prey to the same circumstances yet the album finds the band growing and expanding. Released via Editions Mego, Does it Look Like I’m Here? delves into a cleaner, more spacial terrain. Emeralds has always captured the appeal and wonder of an Arthur C. Clark novella (including the dark undertones) but this go-around those crystalline movements are rendered to their simplest essence. Each synth loop and guitar rundown that was once lost in a 15 minute jam is now pared down to 4 -5 minute blast of hyperspace. These succinct compositions are just as powerful as their predecessors but there’s a clarity emerging from the experiments of Emeralds that transform Does it Look Like I’m Here? from mere curiosity into a slowly forged work of synthetic art; a renewed interest in clean lines and defined colors, though the brush strokes are spontaneous. We are witnessing a band growing up and out, not afraid to toy with richer production and to-scale pieces. At once we are ejected back into the outer reaches of Emeralds’ galactic view yet grounded to the idea that less is more.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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