Remanence: Apparitions

by David J Opdyke, Ambientrance

Gloomy beauty wafts in the lush pseudosymphonic movements of apparitions. An interest in pairing electronics with parapsychology is evident in the attractive packaging and comes forth in the disc's haunting compositions, which transcend mere musicality by sparse touches of experimentalism. remanence are Brian McWilliams (bass, drums, keyboards, programming, piano, shortwave radio and tape treatments) and John Phipps (acoustic & e-bow guitar, drums, keyboards, percussion, piano and tape treatments).

The droning brass and stirring stringsounds (with buried spoken words) of apparitions lead into the mediavalistic thunder of drums and lilting woodwinds of lovely The Lack of Permanence; sonorous violin strands churn in single and multiple streams, from a more fluid beginning into a waltzing tapestry of sound, backed by booming drumskins. Piano notes reverberate through Now Can I Feel?, backed by synthchoral drifts.

The achingly bittersweet piano notes and electronic haze of Be Careful What You Wish For embodies yearning, even in the brief shortwave radio transmission. With comparatively funky basslines and more-modern drumming, Violence in Chinatown rings with oriental-ish chimes, and a few samples (in the "was-that-in-the-recording-or-was-it-outside!?!" variety). Grand, adventurous and cinematic, Where the Shadows Lie (6:54) could be an Arthurian soundtrack to a knights-preparing-for-battle scene; rousing drums and strings eventually trail off into an abstract soundcloud which fades.

In The Hurt Heals Slow, soft spoken phrasings in an unknown tongue sound like a faraway memory beneath plaintive ivories, spaciously applied over a hushed void. A rather abbreviated session of bright xylotones filters through an Ominous Sky (0:49). A slowly rippling soundwash comes alive with 3rd Wave's layers of mechanical throbs, drifting synths, plucked guitarstrings... all lovingly rendered.

So lustrous, the more overt illumination of Watched Over By Angels flies dangerously close to new age territories; radiating this feelgood warmth makes for a happier ending perhaps...

Summoning phantasmal images from an unknown past, apparitions blends classical instrument sounds into paranormal panoramas of subdued majesty. The moving neo-orchestral arrangements of remanence are morose, but not morbid; these 8.5 tracks would perfectly accent a cold autumn day, a stormy night or your own candlelit quarters.