With the Daft Punk soundtrack for Tron Legacy giving off some serious Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre vibes, it seems like it is finally acceptable to be influenced by 80s-style electronic ambience. The album Does It Look Like I’m Here? by the band Emeralds (no “the” - that’s a Japanese surf-rock band) is one of the best examples of a modern take on this sound, and how to do it well.
Released on the Austrian label Editions Mego last year, it’s been a bit of a sleeper hit with the electronica and techno community, ending 2010 in many best-of lists. Full of washy synths, cliff-edge guitar dynamics, slowly building arpeggios and practically no drums, it brings to mind the aforementioned artists in their darkest and most introspective moments. It’s psychedelic, it’s moody, and for the want of a better term it’s progressive. I would imagine it’s a good soundtrack for certain kinds of herbal refreshment.
Emeralds - Genetic (part 1)
Emeralds - Double Helix
Emeralds - Does It Look Like I’m Here?
Emeralds have been gigging and recording for the last 4 or 5 years - Does It Look Like I’m Here? is their fourth album, and their most accessible so far. But they’re not from Greece, Scandinavia or Germany - the band actually hail from Ohio. Along with similar ballpark acts from the States like Zombi (from Pittsburgh), it makes me wonder if this kind of epic progressive-synth music doesn’t have the same negative cultural references there that it has in the UK? I know Tangerine Dream were pretty big in the US in their day. However, the cultural legacy of punk in Britain meant that they were seen as being super uncool. Thankfully the times have changed and we can now accept this as being simply great music. You can buy Does It Look Like I’m Here?, um, here.