Remanence: A Strange Constellation of Events

by Richard Gurtler, Bratislava, Slovakia

I usually don't review too often CDs/CDrs that were released several years ago, but Remanence is for sure one of the projects that deserve to be explored. And then I also keep in mind the words of my good friend Scott M2 of dreamSTATE: "There's certainly no Best Before date on the music." Yes, well said!

Remanence, consisting of Brian McWilliams (also acting as Aperus) and John Phipps (with the help of Michelle McWilliams and Carolyn Koebel), was firstly known as Arcana, but later this name was changed in order to avoid possible confusion, because many other bands/projects were acting under this name.

"A Strange Constellation Of Events" CDr was released back in 2005 on their own mPath Records, now non-functional label, but lately resurrected under Gephonic Records / Remote Activity name. I must say that I was immediately impressed by this release even if it comes as CDr only, but packaged in mini DVD case and featuring some really nice artwork images and various nicely designed goodies like cards with insect photos and a velum insert with stories.

But Brian and John are not only gifted graphic designers, but also as much crafted ambient composers. The album kicks off with 13 minutes long highly evocative "Signal Hill", a piece dedicated to the first transatlantic wireless transmission in Morse Code, that is of course featured in this minimal droning composition. Deeply immersive with enough tension in it, just like at December 12th, 1901, during these groundbreaking days. This is a truly amazing and imaginative piece, guys!

The music on "A Strange Constellation Of Events" is quite diverse as we move from rather more obscure and mechanical structures ("Signal Hill") through more organic soundscapes spiced by tribal downtempos ("Lamkhyer (remix)") to minimal mysterious night journeys ("Nocturne", "Stress"). Then continuing from darker mesmerizing ambience ("The Reflecting Pool", "It Gazes Also Into You", "First Light") through experimental desert dreamscapes ("Echo Canyon III") to noisier industrial territories ("A Reply Beyond Oblivion").

Even if huge dose of variety is delivered here, the overall feel of this album is very homogenous, it requires a very careful listening, but then this work is highly rewarding and strongly recommended to all fans of mysteriously adventurous environmental atmospherics!!! "A Strange Constellation Of Events" is a true gem and I really hope one day Brian and John will re-join their forces for another one, because they have shown a lot of talent and potential. I definitely will keep my eyes and ears ready...