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4 stars Fiji

Starting back in the early 70s, the Berlin School of electronics had a huge part in sculpting the Krautrock experimentations throughout Germany. Electronic music back then was obscure and secluded - hard to navigate in, as most of the sounds and tapestries seemed hook-less and totally devoted to an intangible and formless universe. Tangerine Dream then proposed a way out of the black madness - a way to envelope these synthesizers and strange bionic textures in an easier to swallow package. Melodies!!! Now, whilst Phaedra always gets credited as their magnum opus - selling a huge amount of albums at the time, as well as opening the world to electronic music, it was first with Stratosfear that they carved a future signature sound, that would continue to inspire artists well into the subsequent decades.

Emeralds are part of this heritage, and while you quite easily are able spot the different influences, their is still some kind of magic attached to this music. A porous veil of uncertainty - a luminous scenery of neon colours, rainbow constrictors and pulsating galaxies throwing monoliths into our milky-way like rippling swaying rhythms from beyond the blackness of space. Yes you hear the Stratosfear fingerprint - partly in the voluptuous melodies - but even more so in the slowly paddling sequencing of the backstroking rhythm-section. Then you get those misty morning hazes reminiscent of the early Schulze albums such as Cyborg and Timewind, though on here they do get to frolic and bask way up front in the mix - like a green fog you open up the front door to - welcoming it in to melt into the steam from the shower.

'Oh yeah we get it - it's just one of those wannabe electronic mush albums with borrowed segments coming out the wazoo!!'

Well not exactly as it turns out. There's wannabes and giraffes. One of those carries around a neck long enough to scout over the hedges and see what's what - and know which way the wind blows - accumulating sound and expression through an inspiration, yes, but more importantly by way of utilising that as a means of transport into the artistic and free. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and if we set aside everything in music, and start from scratch, we'll quickly turn into raving lunatics banging on rocks with tree-branches. No, history is everything - as long as you know what to do with it.

This self-titled release from Emeralds is divided into two pieces. One that flirts around with the instant feel good vibes, that quite quickly gives off its melodies and secrets through blitzing lightsaber electronics and booming underground swamps of big grown up melodies for kids. They're so catchy and seductive - like throwing candy at a mule - or wrapping your ears around a sofa.

Then the mighty 18 minute closer turns on the heat, and we slowly but comfortably are welcomed by an electronic heartbeat, a huge living creature of sound - softly evaporating music molecules out of your speakers. I really dig the whole feel of the synths here, and it's as if the pieces up to it were meant as a good vibrant warm up, before they finally decided to stretch their legs and really open up the faucets. Describing the way this track makes me feel takes me all the way across the Pacific ocean to the islands of Fiji, where once a year a beautiful and rare meeting takes place. Thousands upon thousands of luminescent jellyfish come together to mate - and as far as the eye can see, there is this enormous organic being slushing softly in the waters - radiating, breathing, pulsating with entrancing neon lights and flickering intensities. 4.5 stars.

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Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permalink

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