Saturday, May 22, 2010


Emeralds - Solar Bridge
Hanson Records CD HN183

The superlatives have been out in force since Hanson put Emeralds on the map with this breathtaking piece of bone humming drone.
Wallowing in almost obscurity for the last three years amongst a smattering of short run CDR’s and cassettes, these three American dronemiesters have taken up their synths and processed electric guitar and shaken the drone world to its very foundations with some staggeringly beautiful music.
What makes this such a landmark release though is the reemergence into frontline drone work of analogue synths. Its like lap tops never happened. If, like me, you still get a kick out of synths and still hanker after the days when the keyboard player in the band had more equipment than the rest of the band put together, then this is for you. I defy anyone to listen to this release and justify anything similar made on a laptop. The drones are treacle thick, reverberating at loud volumes to such an extent that plaster became loose and the street lights dimmed. Layered with the lightest of treated feathered guitar notes each track creates its own gravity from which its impossible not to be drawn.
There are but two tracks here though and less than thirty minutes of drone for you to become acquainted with and this has attracted its critics. The up side is that it will fit perfectly onto an LP, of which Hanson promise to deliver soon [rather ingeniously the track listing is split into two sides - how can you fail not to like people who do things like that?]. When that LP arrives [which it will because I’ll be camping out to secure a copy] I will sit down and listen to The Quaking Mess and treasure the moment when Mark McGuire’s guitar comes tumbling out of the tumult with a delicate filagree of dots whilst Elliot and Hauschildt’s heavy synths leak out the kind of radioactive drones that were built to match skull reverberations.
Magic is an equally impressive but criminally short twelve minutes. Each builds to a head expanding crescendo that left me a melted, gibbering wreck.
Three things need answering though; when will the back catalogue get the reissue treatment? Will they deliver some longer excursions and when are they coming to England?
The world needs more bands like Emeralds.

Contact: MPO Box 73, Oberlin OH, 44074, USA

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