Electronica/drone trio Emeralds return to Glasgow
The krautrock-influenced noisemongers play The Arches on Mon 23 May
The American underground has fallen in love with the crystalline textures of vintage synthesisers. Like their friend James Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never, Emeralds drink deep from the kosmische fountain – the DNA of Ashra, Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream is imprinted on their circuits – but, as last year’s Does It Look Like I’m Here attests, their sound takes in elements from 90s techno (particularly the sub-aquatic fantasies of Drexciya), post-rock and even American primitive acoustic guitar music.
The List’s first encounter with Emeralds live was at Glasgow’s CCA a couple of years ago, where the trio played a set of tranced-out synth drone (their 2008 album Solar Bridge being a good reference point). Mark McGuire’s clean guitar lines blended into the warm flow of Moog and Korg bliss, as we were set adrift into space in an analogue bubblebath. Perhaps it was a result of having to follow an apocalyptic set by Japanese underground legend Keiji Haino, but Emeralds had changed their game by the time of December’s Godspeed-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties. The building vibrated to the kind of sub-bass frequencies more readily associated with dubstep or techno than noise or drone. John Elliott and Steve Hauschildt moshed over their banks of gear, the pristine sequences and arpreggios of their synths dirtied up with white noise and McGuire’s guitar pyrotechnics. ‘You’ve blown the PA,’ shouted out one crowd member between tracks. ‘Sounds alright to us,’ replied a grinning McGuire. It was, as they say, banging.
The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 23 May.