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emeralds - Solar Bridge
One of the very finest drone groups to come from the American cassette scene in years, Emeralds release Solar Bridge as their closest run-in with a proper, formal album release. Emeralds don't really fit in with the scuzzy sound world occupied by so many of their Midwestern neighbours. Although they originate from the same Ohio noise scene that gave birth to the likes of Leslie Keffer, Mike Shiflet and 16 Bitch Pile Up, this band over their first two years together, have evolved into an altogether more refined entity, and for all their cassette-loving ways this is no lo-fi, shoddily recorded excursion into tonal suspension, instead the flood of synthesis and guitar sustain that consumes this disc makes for a strikingly luscious and fully-formed listening experience, incredibly immersive and detailed from the outset. 'Magic' shifts from a prolonged harmonic stillness into a veritable banquet of overtones and subtle shifts in tone as layer upon layer of synth emissions stack up, eventually revealing watery modulations, emerging from the background. 'The Quaking Mess' is a little more active sounding, opening up with panning high frequency blips and subtly mutating chords, all in the shadow of a thick, analogue monolith that only seems to develop and swell over the composition's fourteen minutes. Clocking in at under thirty minutes, this album might initially seem uncommonly brief, but don't let the meagre timeframe deter you: Solar Bridge is a feast of top class drone and sonic mesmerism. Very highly recommended indeed - ESSENTIAL PURCHASE.