“In the beginning there was feedback: the machines speaking on their own, answering their supposed masters with shrieks of misalliance. Gradually the humans learned to control the feedback, or thought they did, and the next step was the introduction of more highly refined forms of distortion and artificial sound, in the form of the synthesizer, which the human beings sought also to control. In the music of Kraftwerk, and bands like them present and to come, we see at last the fitting culmination of this revolution, as the machines not merely overpower and play the human beings but absorb them, until the scientist and his technology, having developed a higher consciousness of its own, are one and the same.”

No idea if the quote above is from one of the band members or not but it’s the description on last.fm Emeralds page and is just about the most pleasing thing I’ve read today. If anyone can shed any light please let me know.

What Happened is a bustling collection of improvised songs recorded between 2007- 2008. It is an exhilarating experience. Steve Hauschildt’s Moog emits sonic oscillations that feel like an extension of the electricity that pulses round your body. If you could charter a tiny spacecraft to embed microphones in your brain to record the frantic electrical activity as your body rushes with euphoria, I imagine the results would be similar to the music found on What Happened. Towards the end of Living Room I can almost hear Dennis Quaid‘s faint squeal as he is fried alive trying to negotiate Martin Short’s cerebral cortex during the electrical storm. Disappearing Ink builds gently, allowing you to slowly realise you feel sick with weightlessness, a Stars of The Lid track lost in a synthesised soup, an agony that spans over 13 minutes, your only solace arriving as Mark McGuire’s guitar kicks in with soothing familiarity.

It’s great to see the legacy of German psychedelic electronic music not continually being reduced to clichéd ‘Krautrock’ drum rhythms. In an era where mainstream media likes to pigeon-hole acts like Kasabian and The Horrors into this category, it’s always enjoyable to find some experimental analog-synth music absorbing influences from Popol Vuh, Cluster and Klaus Schulze and regurgitating something quite different altogether.

All their music seems to be produced in frustratingly small quantities, although they seem to have some copies left here.