Emeralds 'Does It Look Like I'm Here?' 2xLP
Ectomorph coloured vinyl.
In the late 2000s a sprawling catalog of what is now genre-defining music was emanating from an unlikely place. Cleveland, Ohio has a broad reputation for many things, but in the aughts, psyche-expanding Kosmische wasn’t necessarily Cleveland’s calling card… until Emeralds. The trio of John Elliott, Steve Hauschildt, and Mark McGuire had released a profusion of limited-run cassettes, CD-Rs, and vinyl titles that had been passed around basement shows and then migrated to niche music communities online, creating a unique kind of murmur, even in the height of the DIY blog era. Three kids from the rust belt were crafting a distinctive and truly far-out strain of music on their own terms in the Midwest. They were flipping lids in wood-paneled basements and circulating around the underground with soaring sounds stylistically indebted to deep German electronic music pioneers and released with the ethos and twisted fervor of renegade Midwestern noise freaks. After several releases garnered a die-hard fandom in niche circles of internet/music culture, and then catching the attention of the late Peter Rehberg, the renowned artist and curator of the Editions Mego label, an expectation was set that the next Emeralds record was going to be a big one. And in 2010, Does it Look Like I’m Here? was it.
Artistically, the album is a definitive statement; this is to say it was crafted by heads for heads, a genuine article and a profoundly deep listen, but the mainstream dove in too. Pitchfork acknowledged the rarefied nature of the album’s electricity with a “best new music” rating. This crossover success is a result of the tracks’ potency and wonderfully engineered and succinct structures. It’s dialed in. Still creating their distinct yawning cosmic sound, Elliott and Hauschildt shower the stereo spectrum with shimmering arpeggios, dusty, melodically dynamic swells, rippling FM textures, and canyon-wide waveshapes. McGuire’s signature guitar playing echoes emotive new age pathos and cascading astral space rock trance states. Their previous albums found many tracks hovering past the ten-minute mark, but these new songs were short, potent. “Candy Shoppe” opens the album with polished elegance; Emeralds’ throbbing synthetic sound made bite-sized, an incandescent morsel wrapped in waxed paper. On “Goes By” the languid electric guitar strums and swooning synth pads peel apart into enveloping sheets of synth gargling and soaring leads. Both tracks are entire worlds kept neatly under five minutes. If previous albums like Solar Bridge and What Happened were lysergic sprawls, Does It Look Like I’m Here presents itself as a tin holding a series of psychonautic blasts. This is all to say, the album lived up to the hype.
Listening to it now, 13 years after its original release on Editions Mego, the album sounds however timeless, still immediate. There is a wide-pupiled and cotton-mouthed awe sewn into these radiant folds of sound; for those newly into this sort of thing, let this reissue serve as an initiation, a history lesson, and a heroic dose. For those who’ve come up in the scene and have worn out their pirated mp3s of this album; they can finally get a fresh copy on vinyl. Does It Look Like I’m Here? became a hallmark that would carve a path for an entire scene. Ghostly International is thrilled to reissue the album, remastered by Heba Kadry, including 7 bonus tracks exclusive to the digital album and CD. The limited edition 2xLP includes extensive liner notes by Chris Madak (Bee Mask).
Catalogue number: GI408LPC1
Label: Ghostly International