The Joup Friday Album: Emerald Web – Dragon Wings and Wizard Tales

emeraldwebThe first sound we hear on experimental New Age duo Emerald Web’s 1979 album, Dragon Wings and Wizard Tales, is a whimsical flute floating in the breeze, like some errant minstrel passing by in the forest, inadvertently heralding the arrival of something far grander than he.  It sets the stage wonderfully.

Primarily an album of analog synthesizers and wind instruments, the project of Kat Epple and Bob Stohl has an otherworldly aura about it, finding itself traversing the sounds of psychedelia, prog rock, and New Age mysticism, though never firmly planting a foot in any particular style. There are no acid freakouts or insane time signatures or planetarium scores therein (thought they do occasionally get close).  Instead, the mostly instrumental record with occasional flourishes of Epple’s haunting and angelic vocals soundtracks some imagined, unknown saga, a kind of Tolkien house band playing in the shadows.  By the time “Flight of the Raven,” the record’s intoxicating and beautiful second track begins in earnest, it’s difficult not to be fully and wholly ensnared within this world.  Epple coos over a gentle synthesizer melody, an entrancing siren’s song, before fading away to reveal something darker as dramatic sounds emerge from the silence, creeping, breathing, crashing.  And the tale continues.

I first came to hear this record about 10 years ago thanks to the enthusiasm of people like deejay/label head/crate digger Andy Votel and the late, great Trish Keenan of Broadcast, both purveyors and cheerleaders of rare and fascinating sonic artifacts.  Emerald Web’s debut is one of those private press treasures, lovingly self-made and brought into the world by the artists’ need to get it out there.  I implore you to give it a listen.

This album is pretty difficult to find in physical form, though they do seem to pop up on Ebay and Discogs every once in a while.  In the meantime though, you can find it in mp3 form, and on Spotify of all places.

Passing the mic to Sonny.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

One Response to The Joup Friday Album: Emerald Web – Dragon Wings and Wizard Tales
  1. Shawn C. Baker Reply

    Whoah…”By the time “Flight of the Raven,” the record’s intoxicating and beautiful second track begins in earnest, it’s difficult not to be fully and wholly ensnared within this world” is absolutely correct. Great find sir.

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