Remanence: Lamkhyer

by Andre Lefebvre, In The Quiet

QUOTE: "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..." - Trungpa, Chogyam, Training the Mind.

I received this CD today, Lamkhyer, by Remanence, and felt I had to share a review about this unique band I just discovered... it was about time!

From the packaging to the unveiling to the offering to the "remanence", it was a blessed ritual, with moments of joyful discovery, with rich meditative overtones.

In keeping with the concept of a journey into spontaneity, exaltation of a transcendent origin beyond our ability to notice or measure a brush of the numinous in events or actions, I sat down to write these lines while listening to Lamkhyer, the latest pre-release from Remanence.

The name Remanence itself is one of inspiration, revelation, visitation, touch or imprint, the effects of which carry on after the experience, lingering around like the aura of a fragrance. "When certain materials are exposed to a powerful magnetic field, traces of that influence may remain in the object, even after the field has been removed. These traces are termed Remanence."

Presentation is everything, they say, and in this case, Remanence is presenting a well-thought of artistic concept that one cannot ignore: it's "spiritual art." The promo CD itself was packaged in a fine work of visual art, the colors are earthy, the tones are pastels, the CD is 3" wide and cleverly wrapped within a heavy cardboard envelop, brown, tied on the outside by a thin line of clear rice-like paper.

The CD contains 3 pieces, totaling about 20 minutes. The process of creativity involved an openness to directions from a source other than mere inspiration: "Chance and randomness were treated as valued collaborators, used to select intervals, notes, sounds and direction." Lamkhyer is a pre-release, or "sub-text", the only piece here destined to an upcoming album, "A Strange Constellation of Events". The other 2 pieces on the CD are unique to this collection.

Lamkhyer, offers a focused tension that is at once arresting and enjoyable. But not as a recreational reference. There is an intention in the music, a distinct flow. I would paraphrase the piece with the term "a piercing through". Although all three songs carry similar sounds, they are used in a different way in each, and one can realize the journey-like quality of their essence.

It flows into a valley of experiences of the soul, somewhat familiar as well as strange, finally reaching the other side in a welcomed release, which I particularly enjoyed. Using a mature and personal combination of sounds, Remanence's Brian MCWilliams and John Phipps, developed the "story-line" through means of random synchronicity, and it is marvelously mapped as a unified body.

The textures are strong, dense and full, and there are none of those annoying harmonics that sometimes rip the fabric of the aural sonic "membrane," breaking the spell, making one pull away from the speaker or reach for the level knob.

The suggestion of Tibetan Buddhism is dubbed "subtle" by Remanence, but one cannot miss the trademark Tibetan Bells, the Dung drone and vocal references to guttural monk singing. This being said, these are tastefully incorporated in the music in a most effective and justifiable way, and each song uses them differently.

K'an and The Leftward Path, both working clay and experimental playgrounds for the more refined Lamkhyer, stand on their own as well as the former. Although a bit cruder to my ear, it is not without wild beauty and evocation, and vital dynamics. The energy of the percussions in The Leftward Path will surprise you as they imprint a determination that is both enchanting and inviting to the journey.

A work of great interest and obvious passion, a crossroads for a call to a deeper path, an enjoyable soundtrack to meditation, Lamkhyer carries the seeds of a great upcoming album in "A Strange Constellation of Events". Remanence brings to the world a mature musicianship and inspiration, and a brilliant frugality that reflects insight and "devotion", as alive as the art of calligraphy and ink drawing would be in some Asian cultures... the sharing of their quest is our blessing...

[This review has not been solicited and reflects my first impressions, fresh, spontaneous, and I hope it will inspire you to know more about Remanence, visit their website, and encourage their work through buying their albums.]