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One of the most prolific bands in an increasingly prolific noise/avant-garde underground, the Cleveland-based trio Emeralds are also one of the most accessible. Based around the improvisations of John Elliott, Mark McGuire, and Steve Hauschildt, Emeralds ground themselves in McGuire's small, shimmering guitar patterns, creating music that is at once pleasant, texturally rich, and teeming with complexity. Elliott, Hauschildt, and the still-teenaged McGuire released several CD-Rs together as Fancelions in 2005 and 2006, using slightly more traditional instrumentation, running acoustic guitars, vocals, and samples through delay pedals to create a swirl not entirely unlike Animal Collective's earliest efforts. The drone-heavy music naturally evolved into the more sonically pure approach of Emeralds.
The group's output grew quickly. Before their first year was out, they'd released five CD-Rs, one mini CD-R, two cassettes, and one split cassette. Often compared to German komische outfits, Emeralds, in a more real sense, are simply a trio of improvising musicians, releasing essentially private-press documentation of their jams, which often top the 15-minute mark. Another 16 releases from 13 different labels followed the next year (including the double cassette Christmas Tape 2007) as they built toward their first proper album, 2008's Solar Bridge. Their output remained steady into 2009, and included the well-received What Happened on Carlos Giffoni's No Fun label. McGuire and Elliot were even more prolific on their own, releasing solo cassettes and LPs. 2010 saw the release of breakthrough album Does It Look Like I'm Here?. This record offered the groups most concise and accessible offerings to date, and favorable reviews expanded their reputation considerably. Just to Feel Anything followed up in 2012, incorporating drum machines and other new elements into their once drone-heavy sound. Several months after the albums release, McGuire announced he was leaving the band for personal reasons. Though Elliot and Hauschildt publicly announced they would continue on as a duo, shortly after they reconsidered and the band was dissolved completely in early 2013. ~ Jesse Jarnow
- Cleveland, OH
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