Despite having released material on Hanson Records and now Carlos Giffoni’ No Fun, Ohio’ Emeralds isn’ a noise band in the way most people understand the term. ‘What Happened’ isn’ a document of inscrutable, uncompromising static and fuzz but rather an epic, multi-faceted and often mournful collision of abrasive textures and ghostly analog synthesizers.
On ‘What Happened’, Emeralds channel oblique, monochromatic landscapes that seem slightly troubled, almost off-frequency but not quite. Like a ghostly, post-apocalyptic dystopia, the metallic and synthetic sheen of Emeralds is gradually gnawed away by more “naturalistic’ elements, whether by the mournful notes of a guitar on the superb Living Room, or the push of layered, windy distortion that always threatens to topple their structured improvisations away. If German synth pioneers like Klaus Schulze and Cluster built seemingly impenetrable monoliths of stainless steel elegance, Emeralds make every effort to weather those towers until they’re rusted and grimy.
Emeralds sounds post-futuristic, as if they’ve reached the aesthetic end-zone of electronic music and now desire to recklessly strip it down, pull the circuitry out and fuck with the live wiring. And like Burning Star Core’ ‘Challenger’, it convincingly channels the entropy of the 21st century safety net: as we watch the economy and the world itself quickly decay, this future isn’ looking as clean and prosperous as we may have projected 40 years ago.