The best I can do to describe Boycalledcrows’ sound is “video-gamey.” It sounds like a quest of sorts, 8-bit Nintendo vibes but slightly beefed up. Upon first listen I really wasn’t digging it. I felt like not enough was being offered here to satisfy my desires for adventurous music, i.e. it was too repetitive and one dimensional. Well spoiler, I had a change of heart and the more I listened to Emerald the more I started to open up to what it really has to offer; subtlety its beauty! Slowly I began to see my arms and legs become pixelated, then my face and torso, as I became an adventuring…quick what’s a cool character for a Nintendo RPG? Cyber goblin? Sure, let’s go with that.
Emerald makes for absolute perfect background music, if you’re working on art or trying to fall asleep I can see this album doing wonders for you. It’s playful but never too intrusive, “Flurt” does exactly what its title suggests; it flirts with the senses with splashes of synthesizer keyboards and xylophone and programmed drums that cascade ever so dreamily through your brain.
“Distant” feels like one of those rest areas in a classic Nintendo game where you’d visit an inn to save your progress. “Vapor” is a much brighter pulsating track sonically, yet it employs the same type of programming style and instrumentation that’s consistent on this album. If you get down with the weird, outside the box instrumental works of Boards of Canada, Illum Sphere, Amon Tobin and the like, you will take to this record no doubt. On a personal level, I can’t just sit and listen to a record like Emerald. Simply put, there’s not enough action here to keep me actively invested. But as I said in the previous paragraph, this one warmed up to my heart after several listens, maybe it will do the same for you! Or who knows, maybe you’ll love it on first listen, ya weirdo! Kidding, I won’t judge. Truly though, this is background music.
Boycalledcrow could certainly have a career-making video game music, I just can’t see myself sitting down, un-distracted for thirty minutes and listening to this album again.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Mike Milito