Review Summary: Answer: It does...
Emeralds' brand of electronic music differs from most of their current peers, particularly due to the lack of rhythmic elements and the focus on its ambient, textural elements. Their repertoire could not accurately be described as songs, but rather as loose cathedrals of sound, abstract electronics hazily rising and falling out of the mix without any sort of musical relation or cohesion. Does It Look Like I'm Here?
dates back stylistically to a particular 70s' German School of electronic music, notably led by Tangerine Dream and Cluster. Their sound relied on creating long pieces crafted by distinguishable, sparse electronic instruments. These additions were often looped and gently manipulated till they reached a point where they blurred, which in turn only strengthened the original musical input, a nearly aleatoric wall of sound. These artists' subtle touch and handle of the machines is what turned these DIY, electro-experiments into enticing music. This certain touch
is something Emeralds most regrettably lack.
The setup of Emeralds has the simplicity of a garageband. Their equipment used for recording is stripped to a few simple hard-synths, some mixers, effects, and a guitar. Avoiding expensive equipment and software is used effective in achieving the warm, dreamy sounds of the groups they emulate, physically avoiding over-layering and keeping away from cold digitalization. Their instruments pave a path for their simplistic songwriting, never allowing them to produce bold epics. A fundamental flaw is the noticeable formulaic song structure; a synthetic loop introduces each track, gently juxtaposed by background atmospherics. Additional details are pounded on in a linear and concrete fashion, mixing their homemade textures with off-putting theatrics. This overtly-cinematic sound is prevalent on each track, Emeralds dedicating as much to subtlety and interplay as they do on accumulating instruments. As a different loop is added on, the group takes minimal effort to syncretize it with the previous instrumentation, resulting in massive reverberations that drift instead of blossoming. At its strongest, Does It Look LIke I'm Here?
succeeds with tracks such as "The Cycle of Abuse" and "Goes By", accomplishing little but working as soothing ambient tracks. The title track and "Genetic" show Emeralds formula applied in its worst format, creating quasi-shoegaze soundscapes out of sounds that are disjointed and cheap.
Emeralds most recent isn't an offensive record; with low volume and little attention, it's delicate mood music. However to treat it as an album leaves the listener in confusion with overblown blurs and textural nonsense. In ambient music, it's vital that it's both pleasantly ignorable and yet has a depth that reveals itself with dedicated listens; with Does It Look Like I'm Here?
, Emeralds learn that without the latter, it falls apart.