Remanence: A Strange Constellation of Events

by Fred Puhan, Ambient Visions

The Morse code signals that open Signal Hill, the first track of this electro-ambient CD may or may not spell out "SOS." Fear not, however, this CD is in no danger of sinking. The thirteen minute track plunges immediately into a deep, almost cavernous, droning and oozing electronic journey punctuated only by sporadic bursts of Morse code.

The sojourn continues for an additional nine tracks for a total playing time of some 63-plus minutes. Included are a variety of field and natural sound recordings that, when played in a darkened and quieted room, transport one under the stars where the music and sounds suffuse the atmosphere. Rainsticks, rattles, gongs, cymbals and assorted percussion instruments are added sporadically, adding to the elemental feel of the compositions.

A sense of continuity is present, as each piece melds into the next. While there are distinct differences, the CD sounds as if it were meant to be consumed as an entire body of work.

Remanence is the collaboration between John Phipps and Brian McWilliams, with some assistance by Michelle McWilliams and Carolyn Koebel. James Johnson lent technical assistance, which may help explain the languid feel of the album.

For lovers of deep atmospheric ambient music, Remanence should be given some serious consideration.