Have you ever loved a song that was so obscure that you though you were the only one who has ever heard it and appreciated it?
The hidden gem that I’ve been passionate about since I first listened to it is Witness by Emerald Transmission. For more than a decade I thought I was the only person on the planet to have an appreciation for this song. That illusion was thankfully shattered when I came across this posting on The Color Awesome about Witness.
Emerald Transmission was a Berkeley group that consisted of producer Derek Gee and singer Dora Nicopoulos. They put out two albums although only the second one has Nicopoulos (who sang Witness). Their CDs are pretty rare, it took years of used music store and ebay scouring to get both albums.
I first heard Witness as a track on Live 105’s second Noisy Neighbors Compilation of local bands (this was 1995, circa pre-Clear Channel Live 105 and they were a lot more locally oriented). I instantly loved it. I was 15 at the time and it just seemed so epic and perfectly tuned to my sentimental state of mind. I had a nightly ritual before sleep where I would listen to albums on my Discman (remember those?) as I lied in bed & read comics and the song was often placed on infinite loop.
I put the song on every high school mixtape I made and carried the Noisy Neighbors CD with me anytime I went out with my Discman. It wasn’t until my first year of college that I actually found a used copy of Emerald Transmission’s 1994 album Neptune (used at the now vanished Warehouse on Van Ness). I really liked the whole album but Witness was still my favorite. When Mariela and I first started dating I bought another copy of Neptune and gave it to her as a gift. Even though it wasn’t her musical taste she always humored me whenever I wanted to put it on. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I scored their first album on ebay. I was disappointed with the production and the fact that it featured another singer that wasn’t as good.
I’m in disbelief that this song is over 15 years old. Was 1994 really that long ago? Fuuuuuuuck! I still love Witness with every bone in my body to this very day. If I could ever attribute its influence on another song I would definitely say Swimming Pool by Freezepop. I have no idea where Emerald Transmission, Derek Gee, and Dora Nicopoulos or what they are up to these days but they’ll always have a kid in the Mission District keeping the flame alive.
Here is the song, courtesy of The Color Awesome.
Witness by Emerald Tranmission
7 thoughts on “Emerald Transmission – Witness”
Thanks for the great memory. The good old days of LIVE 105 have not been forgotten. “Witness” was and still is a hidden gem in my book. I can remember listening to this song over and over again. I’ve made many copies of this song for many of friends who’ve never heard it. Amazed and sad that this band never put out more than it did. I gave up searching for them a while back. The search for that hard to find CD(S) was too frustrating as you may know. Anyhow, seeing that you were so lucky to find a copy, two even, any chance of making a copy for me? For? That and would love to see the lyrics to “Witness” if they were published on the disc.
Bolo in Bay Area.
Bolo, good to hear from someone who also has an appreciation for this special song! Sadly there were no lyrics published in the liner notes of Neptune. There are still a couple of lines in Witness that are elusive to me.
I have two Emerald Transmission albums (which I think is all they made). Email me and maybe we can set up a trade.
Have had this song on a compilation disk that a friend gave me back in the 90s, but only went to try to figure out the lyrics yesterday when a friend asked about them… and then suddenly realized how rare the song is when this was the ONLY link that came up for it!!!!
Poked around a bit online, couldn’t find the albums could only find the other live 105 compilation disc on ebay, may pick that up, bring back memories of that era…
Curious what you have for the lyrics, and which lines are elusive? Hope this blog is still active!
Mark in Bay Area
Hey there! This is Phil from the Color Awesome from back in the day. Just listening to Witness by Emerald Transmission and found your article! If you see this, find me on Instagram @upabove.space !
Just pulled it out the rack. Remember it well. I was operating a small record label in the New Orleans area. Etn sent me a demo disc (Neptune). I enjoyed the unique sound, but like an fool missed the opportunity to work with them. At the time I was doing a bit more funky, blues and other local alternative stuff (1993). I think they were way ahead of their time. Back then I had the privilege of receiving a lot of music from unknowns. Some really great and others that were hard to listen to. Has anyone tried to contact them at the address on the back of Neptune? Listening to the disc now.
Paul, I’ve never gotten a chance to listen to the full disc or found anyone that has a copy – still curious, let me know if there is any way. markdspiller on instagram.
Mark, the address listed on the back is:
Etn, P.O. Box 40014, Berkeley, CA. 94704-4014
You could try to contact someone there. Listed as: 1994 Voltage 09 Records with a spline number VTG 001. (That usually means the first and possibly only pressing)
Also the manufacturer was Hummingbird Recordings, Palm Bay, Fl 1(800) 933-9722. They may be able to help.
If all else fails I could possibly make a copy for you. I am a bit reluctant to do that as per copy right and pirating laws. Good luck!