If you’re a musical explorer – someone who’ll give the time of day to just about any offering, no matter how daunting it may seem – you owe it to yourself to experience the cinematic experimentation of Emeralds’ What Happened (CD). Just make sure you aren’t driving or operating heavy machinery (the album is, however, fine to take with alcohol).
During this epic, mind-expanding masterpiece, one gets the feeling that Emeralds probably never stop making music, and that the sounds captured here a but a small piece of their canon. While those who exclusively favor rhythm and structure in their listening experience will probably wonder what all the fuss is about, the intrepid travelers among us will find a true love in this album’s hauntingly vivid, stunningly emotional journeys through synthesizer space and time. While anyone can improvise, not just anyone can make it as meaningful as Emeralds do here.
The titles of the songs are decorative at best, as these sprawling improvisations know not the bounds of description or imagination. Far more important are the evocative, thought provoking sounds contained within the album’s 5 lengthy tracks. These organic creations start and end in completely different places, building on top of themselves with profound patience, relentlessly reaching for new sonic doors to open as they move deliberately through the listener’s senses.
While it takes ears to perceive it, this music doesn’t stop there. The layered soundscapes found on What Happened manage to tantalize every part of the body, filling the mind’s eye with highly personalized visuals, the nerve endings with tangible feeling, and the heartstrings with energizing vibration. You’ll find yourself unconsciously breathing along to this album’s swooning, burbling backdrops, while also being left breathless by majestic, understated guitar additions.
There are scarcely enough words to describe the impact of Emeralds’ life-affirming ambiance – you’ll just have to take some time, clear your mental runway, and absorb their cosmic creations for yourself.