Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Kranky
Simultaneously the greatest and potentially most frustrating thing about Emeralds is that they just don't stay still long enough for us to take an accurate snapshot of them. Their constant drive for exploration of various styles of kosmische, drone, noise and ambient means that as a listener, you're never quite sure what to expect. Sometimes this can end up in disappointment, as with the newest Emeralds album, but in the case of Sequitur, the latest solo offering by Steve Hauschildt, it's a pleasing result.
Blacklight posters. Telescopes. Stacks of VHS tapes. A grainy video of a comet traveling across the pitch black expanse of space. If Emeralds, the Cleveland-born synth and guitar three piece, are known for anything, it's their ability to take empty nostalgia and flip it into deep introspection. It ….
One of the crucial moments in the history of synthesis occurs in the progressive/”world” masterpiece “Aguirre” from Popol Vuh’s soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes. Its architecture is very basic: a low-level Moog bass line swells in and out to provide a rhythmic basis for a soaring, lush choir. The voices on the piece are real, but no choir sang in Popol Vuh’s studio for that soundtrack.
Purity in music isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact what art tends to strive to achieve in some sense is a form of purity. A directness in terms of communication of human feeling and emotion that transcends the physical form or sound vibrations of the picture or piece of music for example. All musical genres and sub genres have their (often disputed) pinnacle acts/artists who embody and define a form of music to such an extent that they actually transcend the genre, occupying a superhuman space in musical culture that most mere mortals can only dream of attaining.
In a year that has already seen the release of the excellent Just To Feel Anything from his band Emeralds and a debut solo LP, Tragedy & Geometry, Cleveland’s Steve Hauschildt returns with a second solo LP. Where Emeralds’ latest pushed further into semblances of ’80s pop than the trio ever had, his return to solo work indulges in the evocative intersection of vintage synths and futurist compositions. Adding to his big year in a dramatic way, Sequitur largely manages to toe the line between expansive ambiance and retro-leaning electronics without sinking into the cliches of either.