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Emeralds - Live

Words: John Elliott

We’re dropping 8 releases, some previously released, some rare, some unheard etc.

I wrote about a few of them!


Allegory of Allergies

originally released on Gods of Tundra in 2007

Emeralds - Allegory of Allergies

We recorded “Allegory of Allergies” pretty early on. Like a lot of Emeralds music from that era, I can’t really recall the processes of making the music so much. I remember mainly that it was recorded live to 2-track DAT tape. It was recorded from December 2006 through January of 2007. At the time we had been going to Michigan to play shows pretty often, and we ended up befriending Mike Connelly who runs the legendary Gods Of Tunda label.

I think we proposed the concept of a c120 before we actually started working on it, but I could be wrong about that. I do remember that “long tracks” were a theme. It’s got a nice blend of our early “all vocal” style combined with the later-era of having more guitar and electronics. Many people consider this one to be one of our very best. The version we’re dropping for our Bandcamp launch is a bit of a hybrid version.

The original cassette came out pretty low-fi and the 2xLP that appeared on Weird Forest has shorter versions of some of the tracks and is also missing a few. it’s not quite 120 minutes long, but its definitely longer than the 2xLP and in the best fidelity yet. I think this new version is my favorite of them all.


Planetarium

originally released on Tapeworm Tapes in 2008

Emeralds - Planetarium

Discogs says this came out in February of 2008, which means we probably recorded this sometime in mid to late 2007. After reviewing the tracks we decided collectively that it was a bit better than we had remembered. It’s quite different from most Emeralds music from that era as well, with the first track being quite “ambient” in some parts. Sounds very reverb-y but I’m not sure any of us had a reverb pedal at the time. This type of situation is very on-brand for Emeralds. It’s really nice to finally have these recordings digitized and remastered as they reveal some things you may not hear on cassette.

I also really enjoyed the artwork for this release as well, and we were excited to do a cassette on Tapeworm because they were (and still are!) some of the best looking tapes from that era. This is on the OG Tapeworm Tapes from Michigan, the one that doesn’t shrink wrap their wares. Quality label and still releasing Evenings music, I think.


Emeralds

originally released on Wagon/Gneiss Things & Hanson Records 2009

Emeralds - Emeralds

Our self-titled album was designed to be our follow-up to Solar Bridge. I’m pretty sure we didn’t consider “What Happened” to be an album as much as it was a “collection”. So, this self-titled album was a concise display of what we we’re working on at that time. We consider this an important piece of the puzzle and wanted to include it in our Bandcamp launch.

A lot of these tracks are a bit of a pre-cursor to the “Does It Look Like I’m Here?” sound, albeit a little more abstract. At the time however, and in the community of Noise music of which we were a part of, this music seemed both organized and musical. You have to understand that in this mid-2000s era Noise music was ruling the roost in the Midwestern USA. Integrating musical ideas was quite frowned upon in the Noise scene. In hindsight it was incredibly conservative and tense. We’d play these shows and hit a single note, or like, Mark would strum a chord and these people would be looking at us like we just landed a UFO in there, all confused and freaked out.

But it was also a strange predicament because we certainly couldn’t play on indie rock bills or even sign with an indie rock label, while the noise community was becoming increasingly alienated by our sound. We were kind of lost in the middle somewhere which was maybe always our best and worst asset.


No More Spirits Over the Lake

originally released on Wagon in 2006

This recording is in my top 5 favorite Emeralds recordings. It seems like most people are mainly familiar with the eMego Emeralds albums. Emeralds existed in many different phases. “No More Spirits Over the Lake”, to me, marked the beginning of a new and exciting era. It felt like our “sound” was starting to reveal itself to us. The first track was recorded by an early champion of Emeralds named Ralph Haussmann.

The recording is live, which is different in that almost all other Emeralds music was recorded “direct input” style. So you can hear the room in the track, which we utilized by mixing in concrete elements like dropped objects and sparse percussion instruments. It has a strange and ominous tension, but it’s not really “dark” sounding. The second cut, “Train Tracks” is as classic as it gets for Emeralds music.

I remember when we were recording the track, toward the end Mark brings in this distorted riff that was unlike anything he had done before. It was so beautiful sounding that I felt like I was having a panic attack. I also remember worrying that whatever unreliable technology we had at the time was failing us, and I was anxious that for some reason the recording got corrupted or that it was lost. This remastered version is definitive, Steve did a nice job on this one.

We made made about 50 or 60 of these cd-rs, and gave them really cool packaging. I remember we brought them to a local show one night and gave them away to whoever we were hanging with that night. At the end of the night, I remember collecting them off the tables and chairs at the venue since nobody took them.

Other Emeralds reissues available on Bandcamp – Fresh Air / Grass Ceiling / Live II / What Happened

Emeralds is John Elliott, Steve Hauschildt & Mark McGuire.

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