Remanence: Apparitions

Meltdown

Debuts don't come much more impressive than this. Remanence, Cold Spring's new American discovery, are an elegantly experimental neo-Classical act whose style embraces elements as diverse as snare drums, piano, guitar, radio feedback, cello and saxophone. The theme of this gorgeously packaged album is ghostly manifestations and the afterlife, with the booklet describing various scientific attempts to contact the dead and thanking a university parapsychology department for their assistance.

While one might reasonably expect a bleak and sinister interpretation of such a theme, 'Apparitions' is sumptuous, joyful and deeply spiritual, reflective rather than depressing. The use of obviously sampled voices to the complete exclusion of live vocals gives the music both humanity and a solemn sense of detachment, further heightened by the crackling radio hunting in vain for a signal. Musically, Remanence are somewhere between The Protagonist, In the Nursery and our own Seventh Harmonic, working symphonically with all of the instruments in the best classical manner, but with the addition of experimental electronic and smoky jazz touches that are all their own - including saxophone solos! Their sound has such a strong cohesive character and the musicians and composers so versatile that they can change style radically even within the same track, flowing between quasi-military march, piano or string driven lament, dark ambient or even Mortiis-like droning keyboards effortlessly and gracefully.

Remanence are quite simply brilliant. If your tastes are catholic enough to match their wide-ranging and emotional style you will adore this album.