It was just the other week that Emeralds got fans’ panties in a big ol’ bunch with Just to Feel Anything, a slicked-out and streamlined album that saw the American synth trio drastically change their formula. However, if you were afraid the band’s Steve Hauschildt would pull a similar 180 with his new solo album, Sequitur, rest easy: the record follows the Hauschildt sound to a T.
In fact, Sequitur plays very much like the direct sequel to Hauschildt’s Kranky debut, last year’s Tragedy & Geometry, offering the same cool and calculated synth-craft that he’s known for. But while that last record aimed to explore all that was possible on one instrument, Sequitur was recorded in Cleveland and Vancouver with nearly 20, resulting in a wider sonic palette that brings greater variety to his lush and dreamy atmospherics.
Still rooted in the past works of Klaus Schulze and mid-period Tangerine Dream, Hauschildt’s retro-futurist synth progressions now come with more choir-like effects, drum machines, quirky old-school electronics and, at one point, some vocoder-filtered vocals. This results in some more beat-y, robotic-sounding tracks like “Accelerated Yearning” and “Constant Reminders,” but with those also come emotion-tugging drone pieces like “Sleep Decline” and “Kept,” which play out as some of Hauschildt’s most beautiful and starry-eyed compositions yet. Sequels are typically never as good as the original, but in the case of Sequitur, it gets pretty damn close, proving Hauschildt has the creative smarts to push his vision forward instead of abandoning it completely.