Remanence: Lamkhyer

by Hans Dinkelberg, Funprox

This is the second release by Remanence, after their debut album "Apparitions" (Cold Spring, 1999). And this 3" mini cd, released on their own mPath label, even surpasses that album in design. It comes in a wonderful earth tone cardboard booklet. Where the previous album dealt with ghostlike apparitions, this time eastern spirituality is on the menu: "In Tibetan [ there is a ] group of slogans known as lamkhyer: lam meaning 'path' and khyer meaning 'carrying.' In other words, whatever happens in your life should be included as part of your journey... Whatever happens, you don't [ have to ] react to it..."

Off to the music then. This mini cd contains 3 long tracks, with a total playing time of 20 minutes. Compared to the previous album, the songs are slower built up and longer spun out. The music is less classical ... in style, but has more stress on ambient elements, reminding [ me ] more of Peter Andersson and Vidna Obmana than In the Nursery. Again there is a nice mixture of electronic and acoustic instruments, combined with field recordings and samples. Whereas the previous release felt like a journey in time, now I have the feeling I am travelling geographically, to distant places, of which it is unclear if they actually exist. A new element in the music is the more prominent presence of percussion and rhythm. This is especially the case in the last song 'The Leftward Path', which gives it a ritual, tribal character. The percussion starts as a background element, surrounded by a mist of other sounds, but it soon intensifies and creates a feeling of movement, making me want to hit on some drums to...

The long title track starts with a dark ambient atmosphere and deep drones, in the best Lustmord tradition. Soon synth layers and subtle layers of percussion join in the background. The overall effect is dreamlike, making you drift away. This is enhanced by the watery sounds you hear dripping now and then. Throughout this song there seems to be a tension between lighter and darker forces, sinister and smooth elements fight for the dominant spot. Towards the end of the 9-minute track the percussion comes more to the foreground, before calming down again with some soft strings and synths. The water really starts flowing on track 2, 'K'an (the abyss)'. Estranging sounds and dark drones create an intriguing atmosphere, in which you can let yourself float... Now and then you are woken up from your hypnosis through little bells. The longer you listen to this and the other songs, the more elements and sounds you notice...

This excellent mini cd is a nice taster for the upcoming Remanence album "A Strange Constellation of Events".