"Unclouded Celebration"
(Stimulus Progression)

Nicholas Emmert serves up a nice slice of proto-new age meditations on celebration. Best known for his guitar work in California's Mammatus, Emmert strays from the spacey psychedelic riffing but keeps the mental synthscapes familiar within the bands’ albums.

Psychoactive Light, the opener, is the quintessential piece backing scenes of joy from any film covering the subject of courage and perseverance: Children swinging on the playground in slow motion, a bus passenger staring out of the window ready to take on an uncertain future, gulls stitching across a clear sky above a skin of shimmering waves. What make Emmert’s compositions different from many of his contemporaries are the fearless perforations he pokes into the compositions, jolting the listener out of a trance and into the next movement of each piece, still containing angelic harmonies and white noise, but of a different set.

The flip side of Unclouded Celebration contains Polished Fog: twanging guitars (or sitars…) blended with phasing synthesis. Emmert moves the cassette to a dreamier, drowsier space atop a mountain at dusk before jamming a blast of brassy chords into the speakers. We are awake! Polished Fog finishes on a bubbly, percussive tail that suggests another needle of existence to knock the listener into reality once more. A chattering of the other creatures affirming the listener they are not alone in celebration.

LIYL: Kyle Landstra, Matthewdavid’s Mindflight, H Takahashi

-- Joseph Morris