by Richard di Santo, Incursion Music Review
Remanence is the collaborative project between Brian McWilliams and John Phipps. This three-track EP, released on their own mPATH label, serves as a prelude to a forthcoming album, A Strange Constellation of Events, to be released at some point in the near future. Remanence make ethno-ambient music in the mould of the masters, Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana, Mathias Grassow et al., whose respective influences on the genre are by now quite recognisable. Smooth, drifting ambience, dark undercurrents, a babbling brook, a compelling rhythm for hand percussion, shakers and drum loops, chiming bells that provide a feeling of ritual, of spiritualism, suggesting something beyond man's reach, beyond rationality... ok, so that's the goal, anyway. Ethno-ambient music has never quite succeeded in transporting me to such heights, and yet when the music is well done, when there's an attention to detail and a certain tension in the sounds, I start paying attention and allow the sounds to wash over me in good order. That being said, these are three nice pieces presented here, nothing very original, nothing significantly new being brought to the table already filled with similar servings, but they certainly do a good job of it. So let's watch out for future offerings from this duo, who are sure to present something sonically rich and evocative in the very near future.