I guess with a name like Honest Bag, one could perceive this review as, "the stoner who got too ripped and arrived at the party a week late". Yes, I am aware that this lp - one of the finest put out by Brad Rose - was released approximately nine months ago. The truth, however, is that summoning the strength to write this review has proved difficult. Listening to Emuul, for me, is an extremely emotional experience. Two years ago I picked up the Ghostwood Estates cs from Blackest Rainbow. At the time, I was working at a DC public policy organization and the experience left me empty, feeling broken. One night after work I cried and uttered, "how much longer can this continue?". A few minutes later, Emuul changed my life. Much like the blood which flows through your veins, Emuul's music is vital. One word to describe the transcendental sounds of Emuul would be "visceral".
Emuul is the moniker of Kyle Iman. He has released a bunch of cassettes on the likes of Avant Archive, Monorail Trespassing, Stunned, Blackest Rainbow, Sweat Lodge Guru, Anathema Sound, Tranquility and Digitalis Ltd. The Drawing of the Line - Kyle's vinyl debut, on the always dependable Digitalis Recordings - corroborates my thoughts that he is one of the most important modern musicians.
Side A comes to life with "Expectations", an ethereal track of contemplative synth. Tracks like this are the reason I return to Emuul. Next is the swelling, buoyant synth and gorgeous textures of "Love Theme". This song makes me want to ride the highest wave with my family and friends for eternity, embracing one another as we encounter the uncertainty of life. Listen to this one loudly. It permeates your skin and it is as much a physical experience as emotional. Track 4, "Big Clouds", is features a beautiful arrangement of sounds - hopeful and uplifting. Kyle adroitly creates soundscapes that fuse to the core, bringing forth memories, feelings and thoughts. And not just any memories, feelings, or thoughts, but the ones that are difficult to confront. Music for self-evaluation. Only powerful music can accomplish such a feat. The flipside contains a side-long track, "plus one". It begins with a light drone that is treated with reverb. The angelic tones spiraling higher. Soon one can hear the sweet Ambarchi Suspension-era tones. The overall sound is so rich and full of life.
Only Kyle could create these sounds - an outlier in a vast field, the brightest star in the sky. Criminally, this is still available. Buy your copy from Digitalis or from the Emuul shop.
Peace, my friends