Steve Hauschildt is one third of Emeralds, whose 2010 longplayer
'Does It Look Like I'm Here?' was one of the highlights of the
year, and his solo effort, out now on Kranky, continues in the same
vein, and if you like Emeralds, you'll probably fall in love with
this one too.
For all the tracks ambient-drone glimmer, it is kept firmly rooted
by a series of running scales and melodies that never push it into
the realms of knob-twiddling boredom, strangely gripping, a track
for sunny mornings, sunny afternoons and humid nights.
Ah the voice that Gabriel Bruce emits for your pleasure,
creaking at the pressure at the depths of baritone. Thicker and
richer than honey, smothering warm analogue keyboards in its
luxuriousness, plaintively chanting prose-poems over an impassioned
sweeping synthesizer symphony. Gabriel Bruce's idiosyncratic
crooning baritone plaintively insists 'I've got this feeling I were
dead' as the song slowly edges toward climax; a shaker drops in,
drums fire off in doubles foreshadowing the release of the song's
pounding beat, whilst four organ notes cycle through
claustrophobically, mirroring the feeling of sleep paralysis
The track recalls Leonard Cohen's late 80s synth production
on I'm Your Man, yet is altogether murkier and more
foreboding, more interested in depth of darkness rather than that
album's surface glimmer. B-side No Love Lost draws the
Cohen connection deeper, primarily through Bruce's deep vocal
range, though tonally Bruce reaches something smoother and more
versatile than Cohen did, and the track has shades of Nick Cave's
possessive obsessions and fascinations in subject matter.
Chromatics tread a wonderful line in downtempo Italo pop music.
It's strange though, that they are from Portland and have ended up
making this very European music that you wouldn't think would've
crossed the Atlantic very well, but their distance from the Italo
scene they are influenced by has created a weird thing in their
music; they are that wonderful kind of band who are actually fans
of a scene and are recreating it in their own image.
So Chromatics mix up that washed-out grainy Portland aesthetic
with the glimmer of Italo, pulsing Moroder-isms mixed with hipster
sensibilities. It's a brilliant mix, that is sometimes more
interesting that enjoyable as they can hit some pretty flat notes.
But new single Kill For Love is exactly why we love them.