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CD Album 2005 | Silber 038
14 tracks 57 minutes
$12 ($18 international, $5 download)
: Listen to the track The One I've Been Waiting For
: Press Release
Track Listing: Champion, Let it die on the 4th of July, Sorry, The One I've Been Waiting For, Arena, Out of Air, Legends, Beams, Volcana, Kill my way out of here, True Glory, Bad Person, weakness-strength, Knockout
Sometimes when you listen
to an band, you get the feeling that whoever is behind the amp is an accomplished,
skilful musician. The technical precision of every chord and beat
is unquestionable, and it's clear they practiced for years to become so
good. Remora's not that kind of band. Let's say music has among
others 2 axis, skill and quality - not intimately connected, but not mutually
exclusive. The Mars Volta, to take one example, is clearly high on
skill and, in my opinion, medium on quality due to spotty, overindulgent
songwriting. Kepler would be medium on skill and high on quality
- no complicated guitar riffs there. Remora, now, would probably
be low on skill and high on quality. This music is not complicated
by any means, but the musician has an innate sense of how to make it sound
Take the first song, "The One I've Been Waiting For." This song is extremely repetitive - that guitar part you'll hear doesn't change at all the whole time. I could play this song on my guitar, and I'm terrible. Of course, that didn't stop the song from being stuck in my head for two months while I was travelling and didn't have it. The music is just kind of raw and basic, like an apple - and there are times when I would prefer a delicious apple over a savory feast. The rest of the album certainly follows this example - simple, repetitive, but beautiful and sort of primally engaging. Some of the songs are instrumentals, which Remora have more practice with if their discography is any indication, and they're very nice. "Sorry" is a great example, a sort of cross between Frost and a sinister Windy & Carl. The other tracks with vocals are hit-and-miss; I like "Kill My Way Out Of Here," but another could just as easily despise it for being sort of over-the-top Tom Waits wannabeism. The singer doesn't have a particularly good voice, but when he uses it correctly it sounds fine, and anyway the vocals have no great claim to the music - they're there, but they're not primary.
You'll get an idea of whether you like Remora or not pretty much from one listen. I personally got hooked right away, but I won't be sad if you decide it's not for you. Take these sample songs and enjoy, and if you want to check out some more, go to Remora's website where they have more songs and a free EP.
(sigh)...why am I being tortured in this most delightful way. Here I am
just having “lost” half a day on the previous review and having
resolved to pull my head together in order to work at higher speed, and
there I put on the new work of art by Remora. I tell ya, I'd only just
put the album on, and I was already looking for means to prevent having
to start this review. Oh sure, I put up a good fight in the beginning,
starting off by examining the info on this solo project of Silber
Records owner Brian John Mitchell, but soon enough I found myself going
to the shop for snacks (playing the music through my mp3-player in the
process), which were then prepared and eaten (at lengthy time) while I
took a new Agatha Christie book at hand. Then, drowsy from being
freshly fed, I took to laying down for a while, and had the album play
another 3 times before I finally got back up and started this. By now,
of course, my mind was set on how to tackle the review and...well, all
good things eventually have to come to at least a momentary end.
Mitchell started Remora back in 1996, and released a total of 5 cassette tapes, and cd-R's from 1997 to 1999. Material for those releases was recorded in Mitchell's own bedroom recording facility, and produced the first actual album Some Past's Future on CD in 2001 (followed closely by the EP Some Future's Past). It was followed in 2002 by the 3-way split (with Pale Horse And Rider and Rivulets) The Alcohol EPs, 2005's Enamored CD...Estrella download EP...and the Reversion EP, 2007's Songs I Sing, 2008's collaborative (participants being Northern Valentine and Slicnaton) CD Clear Field, 2009's live Guitar Antihero download EP and the covers album Derivative, and several compilation participations in between. The releases from the '90s were done mostly after work and in between other responsibilities, and were characterized by the Drone school of thought, using minimalist structure and repetition rather than noise, creating walls of sound rather than melodic passages...and the 2001 releases were the first done in proper recording sessions. But Mitchell is known to have done some one-sided side-steps. For The Alcohol EPs he went all acoustic on the guitar, using even a 12-string instrument for the occasion. For Enamored he went into a Post-Apocalyptic Pop style, and Songs I Sing was a collection of a capella songs!
For Scars Bring Hope, Mitchell asked longtime collaborator Brian McKenzie to select an album's worth of material from 3 hours of demo cassettes. Having made his rather diverse choice, McKenzie then dragged his friend into a proper studio to re-record the tracks. The result, as already said, is highly diverse, and is almost like a culmination of what Mitchell has done before (there's no a capella thing). Expect Mitchell to use his haunting voice on top of a guitar Drone wall in one song, on top of a simple acoustic guitar (with an occasional Psych Country flavouring) in another, or on top of piano and keyboards, or a combination of the aforementioned...and also expect two instrumental guitar drones (the album closing track lasting a delicious 13 minutes) and keeping the listener hypnotized from start to finish (and then again, depending on whether you have the album play in continuous loop like I always do). The songs on the album all tell disturbing stories, going from sci-fi pulp about resurrected soldiers (“Awake Arise”, “Let Me Die With A Coin In My Pocket”), the end of the world (The Future Of Man”), alien invasion (“My Brother's Guns & Knives”), the myth of Chtulhu (“We Come From The Sea”), stories of cowbys becoming soldiers of fortune (“Nevada Smith” & “Protector Of Builder Of Airplanes”), and some of his trademark twisted love tunes (“Does The Music?”, “Let's Fall In Love”, and “Peanut Butter Cup”)...but even the instrumentals have stories behind 'em, “Static Is Motion” thematically being about the end of the world, and “Angel Falling Through Water” about alien invasion. Expect...expect to be hypnotized from the get-go, and not want to let go! Finds examples of Remora music at the label's website, but be warned that listening to the music will enhance you wanting to listen to it more...and more, and more, and more...!!!
Duh!!! Of course Scars Bring Hope gets a spot in my “Best Albums Of 2011”-lists...with a top rating too!
~ Concrete Web
When I was twelve, there
was this boy I was really in love with, and he didn't give a crap about
me. At the same time, I had this friend who had already grown boobs and
wore lots of makeup and all the boys just loved her. One day, this friend
of mine decided that she'd do me a favor and arrange a situation where
I could spend some time with the boy I liked. At the end of this story,
she and I and this boy and his friend were all sitting together in a room
lit only by an ultraviolet light, and there was a bottle spinning, and
I got to kiss this boy I liked. It was totally uninspiring and quick and
not even really a kiss, and it didn't change anything between us.
I don't know why, but this album reminds me of that night. Honestly, I hadn't thought about that night for over a decade until after the second track, "Let It Die on the 4th of July," came on, and all the loneliness and dizziness and anticipation of that night just washed over me. Cecilia - that's the name of the girl the boy, Sean, ended up going out with. She had long hair and wore a tube top every day of the year. There's a late-night feeling to the mechanical washes, sans percussive minor-chord-heavy guitar strumming, and melancholy refrains of the mostly-instrumental/ambient songs on this, on this collection of songs about being alone, settling for whatever you can get out of life, and futile threats and empty promises. It's a beautiful-sounding thing, even if it does cause one to bring up painful memories that really want to stay buried.
~ Holly Day, Cosmik Debris
guitar strumming with dark lyrics about love and loss. As cheesy as "lyrics
about love and loss" sounds, this album works. From droning instrumental
tracks to thick acoustic numbers, this album is experimental and unique
enough to be a good/refreshing listen.
~ Everything Is Fire
I'm not familiar with the
early works of Remora, but they apparently dealt in sound/noise based material
with more of an emphasis on atmospheric effect than melody. These days
Remora have moved towards a song-based sound, incorporating their early
experiences in sound manipulation into their songwriting. Their album Enamored
is largely based around tracks which effectively combine lo-fi melancholic
indiepop and atmospheric post-rock/spacerock soundscaping. There is also
instrumental material here; tracks such as Sorry, Beams and Knockout combine
melodic riffs with atmospheric swathes of sound, whilst True Glory is more
pure noise based, and Arena bridges the gap between melody and chaotic
noise. Champion takes a break from noise and effects, stripping everything
down to sparse guitar and voice, to hark back to the sombre side of early
~ Kim Harten, blissaquamarine
first full-length release in four years, simulates the noises of a post-apocalyptic
setting: the distorted guitar noise on track three is wind across a wasteland.
Guitar notes alongside a humming voice, Enamored’s preferred
songwriting technique, are intimate exchanges around a burning oil barrel.
In “Legends,” Brian John Mitchell, sole member of the group, sings, “Where
have you been for all this time? / Six months & I saw your crimes /
Never should’ve served this time in a different state of mind / Where’ve
you been? Where will you go?”
Although I cannot reference previous work (this is my first Remora release), Enamored is, according to the press kit and my own educated guesses, a culminating effort in multiple ways. The fourteen songs were selected from over 100 written over the past four years, ensuring both lyrical and musical variety. One track (“weakness-strength”) includes Remora’s first-ever drum beat, as well as a keyboard as the dominant instrument.
If Remora’s late ‘90s cassette releases were defined by layers of guitar noise, then this album is distinguished by its modest precision and reserve. Mitchell never wails or moans, but his words are no less affective. Guitar notes and rhythmic chords are more common than guitar noise, wah pedals, and feedback — although such noise techniques, when employed, are often more evocative than the sometimes vague lyrics. In “Bad Person”, his concluding line “I’d let you go” is heightened by an unfortunately brief guitar wail. The emotion, restrained within his voice, is let out through the guitar strings.
Tracks twelve and fourteen, instrumentals showcasing Remora’s guitar noise roots, are tense broadcasts over a ruined landscape, the guitars themselves acting as currents of dusty wind, as forces of alienation, as witnesses to and eventual memories of the place in Mitchell’s head.
This is Remora’s style, and it is consistent throughout Enamored, despite sloppy lyrics on a few tracks (“weakness-strength” pales to the urgency of “Kill My Way Out of Here”) and the disappointing brevity of most songs on the album — “Bad Person” feels cut off while “Knockout”, the final track, stretches to over nine minutes.
Nevertheless, for all its simplicity, Enamored is as densely textured a portrait of struggling love as a photograph of two enraptured survivors, lying in the dirt during the epilogue of life on earth.
~ Brad Hirn, SickAmongthePure
"I love you more than I ever
wanted to / it's a weakness but you give me a strength," Brian John Michell,
aka Remora sings at one point on his new album Enamored,
a Valentine's Day album with remembrances of the Valentine's Day massacre
fully intact. Love is a force beyond the controls of human beings throughout
a force which binds people together against their will, making them do
anything for the other. "You be my angel / I'll be your champion," goes
one line, and that's the essence of it: you'll save me and I'll die for
you. Mitchell's voice is intensely serious and mono-chromatic, a fitting
match to the droning guitars that are the cornerstone of Remora's sound.
Those guitars are used both to form hovering thunderclouds of noise and
to slowly churn like the ever-creeping hands of time, signaling impending
doom and destruction. There's a fatalistic feeling about Enamored,
like all love is bound to end in annihilation, yet the album is strangely
calm and peaceful at the same time. Forces beyond human control are operating
throughout the album's stories and scenarios, pushing our lives in the
direction of death just like Remora's dark ambient clouds slowly cycle
forward, heavy yet determined.
~ Dave Heaton, Erasing Clouds
Remora, led by Brian John
Mitchell's glum, Leonard Cohen-ized vocals, slog out a Bedheaded breed
of slowcore rock ideal for wallowing in self-pity. For better or
worse, humans will always need Remora's kind of music.
~ Dave Segal, The Stranger
Remora has been active since
1996, exploring the possibilities of noise created by guitar. This
new album sounds like like the offspring between experimental noise stuff
& a kind of noise ballads. It's quite unusual to hear this type
of noise experiment while several vocal parts on top inject a human touch.
This isn't comparable to pure ballads, but it pushes this type of song
to an extreme side. I can't speak about a major success although
I've got to recognize it's quite original!
~ Stephane Froidcoeur, Side-Line
The first Remora album in
some years, Enamored finds its main man (and Silber Records
honcho) Brian John Mitchell steering away from blissout — or a more violent
version of same — in favor of generally lower-key songs in a murmuring,
melancholic vein. If anyone is Mitchell's vocal forebear on Enamored,
it might often be, say, Leonard Cohen or Calvin Johnson, a dark but not
overbearing approach, though set against lovely arrangements that call
to mind the most delicate moments of bands like Flying Saucer Attack, late-period
Slowdive, or the Durutti Column. The opening song sets a basic template,
with bass and vocals leading the way before a spiraling guitar part slowly
descends from the heavens, and from there Enamored — punning
title doubtless fully intentional — wends its way for almost a full hour
with many variants on the general approach. When Mitchell lets the sheets
of feedback back in, as on the instrumental "Sorry" or "Bad Person," it
often is as much texture as raison d'être, a fine balance of impulses
that perhaps reinforces the Flying Saucer Attack comparisons but does so
with grace. Meanwhile, the vocal-led numbers tend toward the stripped down,
with the gentle, gloomy progression of "Kill My Way Out of Here" suggesting
a murder ballad in the 21st century. The vivid imagery of "Let It Die on
the 4th of July," like "Kill My Way" based on the Killraven comic character,
similarly aims for restraint musically, with softer, higher singing and
treated acoustic guitar sounding more like early-'90s lo-fi than anything
else. "Legends," meanwhile, finds yet another tack, almost sounding jaunty
— Mitchell almost showing a bit of a twang — though the haze of acoustic
and electric guitar creates a queasy, slow-building arrangement. A technical
note: initial pressings of the album have a much different track listing
to the one printed on the back cover.
~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide
opens with “The One I’ve Been Waiting For” in which Brian John Mitchell
intones lines such as, “I’ll give up my drinking and pills/I’ll stop scarring
up my arms” in a languid baritone over a bass line that recalls the Misfits’
“Skulls.” This sets the tone for the rest of the disc which alternates
between ultra bummed-out balladry and dark, moody dronescapes. Musically,
the disc is very tight. Mitchell has a good ear for an arrangement; the
vocal driven songs are concise and the drone pieces give the impression
of being both layered and minimal. Unfortunately, Enamored
isn’t problem free. While Mitchell’s voice is compelling, at times his
delivery brings to mind Hayden, he stumbles occasionally as on “Out of
Air,” which is obviously out of his vocal range. Also, there are problems
wit some of the lyrics. The song “Champion,” for example, with it’s refrain
“You be my angel, I’ll be your champion” takes the sad boy singer thing
entirely too far, as does “Legends” with lines like “I want to have a child
with you/Drive a station wagon too/and then we’ll go out and say I love
you to the world.” That being said, the music more than makes up for any
~ Neddal Ayad, Foxy Digitalis
What is Remora? Questions
arise when I'm taking a look at this cd. The lay out seems to have a detail
from a painting involved, Rothko or anything like that. It gives a neutral
feel and I just can't figure out what Remora should be about.
The one-sheet that comes with this record makes things clear: Remora is an artist that started out as making guitar based noise and eventually evolved to a more ambient sound and sober repetitive songwriting. This cd is probably some kind of a retrospective after a lot of different releases on several labels.
"Champion" is the opening song. After two minutes it's quite clear to me that this won't be an easy quest to give this album a review. The song starts out with some minimal acoustic guitar and some monotone singing. Sometimes a piano is involved too. It's more like a deep dark intimate way of singer-songwriter music. It's pretty monotone and very basic with lyrics about love and other personal things.
Besides the dark acoustic singer-songwriter ballads, tracks like "Sorry" are totally different. In some of his songs you can hear spaced out guitars and a very minimal way of droning. Actually these are the best parts of this album. They’re guitar ambientesque dronings with surreal background sounds. The songs "Volcana" and "Bad Person" are adding up to that good stuff. So, as far as guitar droning and ambient music Remora is damn good.
But this disc is a mix of both singer songwriting with a dark intimate approach and droning ambientesque soundscapes. This is not bad at all, it's just a little too dark for me right now, the songwriting is ok but not something that keeps hanging around in my head. Singer songwriters have to be damn good these days to impress. Some songs are well done and others come over to me as too repetitive and are hard to get deeper into.
So consider this album a good way to discover Remora, but nothing more than that. I’d rather seen a brand new full length to find out what Remora is really about nowadays. Though it’s definitely going to be sober and dark, I can assure that already.
~ Ray Kluze, Semtex Magazine
Poetic, impassioned lyricism,
expressed with a wonderful simplicity that emphasizes the power of the
words. At times the delivery could be more powerful . . . the performances
are sometimes tentative, uncertain. The voice must express itself with
absolute conviction, unconscious of what the sonic result might be. Let
it waver, let it crack, being on-pitch or in perfect rhythm is unimportant
here, those are my thoughts. Can't help but reference My Favorite Horse
aka Chris Jeely - similar in approach. Check it out on Scarcelight Recordings
if you don't know of him already. Overall, I find so much meaning in the
lyrics of Remora that this is my personal favorite of the Silber releases
I've heard so far.
~ Static Signals
Remora’s first full-length in four years. This LP is a collection of songs
written over a long period of time and the tracks are inspired by pulp
sci-fi of the 1970’s. Remora’s early ventures had to do with ambient walls
of sound and blissed out guitar noise. This LP brings in more songwriting
elements and singing. There is some blissed out moments on the album, but
it seems that the guitar has been taking out of the world of effects. The
vocals are weepy, depressed, and dragging. I will say this; the album seems
a little schizophrenic. There are brilliant moments of loud, blissed out
noise and then there are the softer, more singer songwriter moments. That
said, I will discuss the songs below.
“You’re the One I’ve Been Waiting For” is the first track on the disc (although the artwork says otherwise) and it struck me as low-fi. The track begins with a great, atmospheric sound and then some guitar picking starts. The vocals come in and sort of speak plainly to the listener. Honestly, this track was kind of a bad first impression. It about a man who is willing to give up his issues for his woman and go on adventures with her. What I do like about this track is the spacey guitars that dance between the speakers, covering the monotonous plucking of the acoustic guitar. “Volcana” has an acoustic guitar and has an almost “dark Sufjan Stevens” feel to it. It’s a much more interesting song than the first track and I wish they would have been swapped to create a better entrance into the album.
“Sorry” begins with the whining of guitar and a mournful drone as a wall of sound builds. The bass thunders amidst the wall. Have read about Remora, this is what I was hoping for. This track is a giant soundscape with many layers. This track is listless and beautiful. “Kill My Way Out Here” kills the wall and goes back to guitar and a depressing vocal. The lyrics seem to be about a dying loved one that the singer would kill to keep alive. It’s a very fatalistic song and seems hopeless. “Out of Air” is a song about longing, it seems. It has an acoustic guitar strumming again and the doleful vocals. “Beams” begins with hums, backward sounds, and some strumming of the guitar. I really, really like Remora’s instrumental/experimental work. It’s lush and interesting. “Let It Die on the 4th of July” is another acoustic oriented song with male vocals. It has a lighter feel, but, of course, death is central to the songs topic. “Legends” begins with feedback and flows into clanging acoustic guitar. The cadence of the vocals is kind of rushed and very different from the other songs.
“True Glory” begins with warbling guitars and distortion. This is a very brief track, but, it is one of those instrumental tracks that I think Remora does so well. This track peters off into “Untitled,” another vocal with repetitive guitar and a slight ring in the background. Eventually, the wall of noise that Remora creates so well is joined together with his lyrics and vox. “Weakness-Strength” begins with a hum and what sounds like some tapping kind of percussion. This song feels almost like a stripped down Michael Knott piece. It’s actually the most interesting vocal track on the entire disc, in my opinion. It’s subdued and, not lethargic, but patient. “Arena” follows on the heals of “Weakness-Strength" and it is a brief track that has high-pitched guitar and crazy, chaotic noises swirling in the background.
“Champion” begins with soft guitar and vocals. This song is also pleasant and shows a more sophisticated side to the vocals and a stripped down beauty in the guitar work. Also, the general structure of the song is better than some of the others. “Knockout” is the final track on the disc and it clocks in at about 11 minutes long. It starts with a low rumble, warbling sounds, guitar picking, and some various noises and clicks. This combination of sounds has a hypnotic sound that is soothing.
I am a bit torn in how to react to this disc as a whole. There are many good tracks, but there are also an equal amount of tracks that I wish were not on the disc. The disc feels very unbalanced. I would love to hear Remora’s earlier work with walls of sound and guitar. I think that is what Remora is best at.
~ Jason Lamoreaux, Somewhere Cold
Remora's first release in four years. There are really nice swirly guitar
drones throughout this release, (this cd reminds me of Ionia-era Lycia).
Silber Media seems to be rather consistent at finding and culling
these gems of sound collage from their artists throughout their short history.
The shoe gazer genre should take heed of this label as should the ambient-industrial
artists. The standout most dreamy songs on this release are “the one I’ve
been waiting for” and “Arena”. What with Jamie Barnes and John DeRosa helping
to hone down from over 100 pieces, this album plays hard and fast with
the general “album concept” and creates what seems more like a greatest
hits of a “timeless band” from a band with almost no cd back catalogue.
I only wish that bands like Remora would be picked to open for Death in
June while they are on their tour so that their audience can see and hear
the similarities between the old school Neo-folk and up and coming
Ambient-Apocalyptic genres in this five year old new millennium.
~ Azrael Racek, Gothic Revue
The label defines this as
"post-apocalyptic-pop & drone." In some way it's a kind of 'best of',
stripped from 100 recordings, and compiled with the help of Peter Aldrich,
Jessica Bailiff, Jon DeRosa (Aarkrica), Nathan Amudson (Rivulets) and Jamie
Barnes. The music is full of deepdown vague sadness and skeletal expressions,
following two chords or similar near death pulses of ambient guitar, from
songs to instrumentals. It has some identity but stays so long in this
depressed sphere, the hardest depths of life, for me can hardly be as tiring
as this. It needed a few listens to reveal itself and for me to accept
this world of slow consciousness and tiny inner musical variations. While
my own character likes to bring things immediately into light, and to strive
directly towards "life," creating and giving life, here there's no direct
conscious choice of changing or uplifting anything. The changes come passively,
slowly changing through pulses of an inherent variation. There's no deliberate
choice to get the creator out of the dark grey mood of emptiness and remorseless
loss. Instead it's a confirmation of this loss, without adding more expression
to it, other than the inherent passiveness in it. This over-minimalism
works somewhat like an ambient song mood thing, and there are a few moments
of some sweetness in the voice changing the colour a bit, like on "Let
it die on the 4th of July", or through a few layers of things that happen.
Music without too many contrasts still is a dangerous area, that can easily
fall back on repetition, and become tedious, and has a danger that the
expression falls back into monotony. ..The colours of the flours might
speak for themselves and the dusty air just is.. I guess this is a deliberate
border line mood, with dust noise as beauty as the centred pulse, with
momentous improvisational variations, a confirmation of the true existence
of the one-centred being, where these surrounding repetitions create the
chance to become a trance state of transcendence.
~ Gerald Van Waes, psychevanhetfolk
Like Jamie Barnes and other
Silber artists I discovered Remora through Silber’s online compilation
Wishes back in late 2004. However the Remora story dates way back
to 1996 where the band began releasing various cassette's and CDR releases,
which displayed an ambient guitar experimental noise sort of music. In
recent years though the Remora sound has shifted from these experimental
compositions to more song based compositions using melodic riffs mixed
with their earlier sound.
Now I know what I mentioned above must seem a little odd so give me a few seconds to try and explain the sounds of Enamored in greater detail. Basically what Remora does is they take one really good melodic riff and repeat that riff throughout the entire song, while mournful sounding vocals and occasionally some keyboards and melodica are added into the mix, plus the ambient guitar sounds in the background. Also there are a few songs that are purely ambient guitar experimental compositions, which I’m assuming is more of what Remora sounded like back in there early days. Now while that may not seem like the most exciting thing every done I must confess this really is an exceptional album. Take a song like "The One I’ve Been Waiting For" for example, which has a really great sad repetitive riff, depressing vocals, and some interesting poetic like lyrics. I’m also rather fond of "Kill my way out of here." This particular song has a very foreboding feeling to it with mysterious vocals, which I really like a lot. "Out of Air" is one of the more interesting instrumental songs since it has this really odd suffocating calm feeling to it with the aid of the melodica. It’s almost as if you really are running out of air as you listen to this song, well it’s a bit hard to explain. "Champion" is another more depressing song reminding me of "The One I’ve Been Waiting For," while "Strength-Weakness" is the first Remora song to feature a drum track and uses the keyboards as the central instrument rather than the guitars.
I really can’t think of any specific genre to place this band in, but I think a lot of people that enjoy Post Rock and other "post whatever chill out music" would find Remora to be interesting. This being my first encounter with Remora I’m rather impressed and will be searching for some titles from their back catalog shortly.
~ Blackwinged, Lunar Hypnosis
The product of 4 years of
work and narrowed down from over 100 compositions, Enamored,
the new full-length release from Remora, features 14 tracks blending moody
ethereal rock and ambient noise born almost entirely of guitar, bass, and
vocals. The central project of Silber Records founder Brian John Mitchell,
Remora's new offering continues the project's trend toward more structured
song-oriented material. The resulting album is a moderately interesting,
albeit somewhat unpolished and uneven, foray into minimalist ethereal rock
and ambient guitar noise.
The real highlights here are the disc's few instrumental ambient/experimental/noise tracks, from the walls of wah of the album's short ninth track to the disc's mellow 12-minute ethereal closer, each creating an interesting, highly textured sonic landscape through processed guitars sometimes accompanied by more straightforward melodic elements. The majority of the album, however, consists of droning, minimalist ethereal rock compositions that fall somewhere between SoulWhirlingSomewhere and Red House Painters, albeit less musically complex and accomplished than either, accompanied by layered vocals that range from low-pitched drones ("Bad Person") to wobbly off-key deliveries ("Out of Air").
Most tracks are love songs, sometimes inspired by literature or film and some darker than others, void of choruses and bridges, often consisting merely of simple two-chord progressions that span the entire length of the song. Some wallow in their minimalism, while others are highlighted by sparse-but-interesting ethereal guitar and noise production touches, for instance the lovely delayed ambient guitar work at the end of "The One I've Been Waiting For". The most unique among these songs are "weakness-strength", the only track on the album to feature keyboard and percussive loops, and "Legends", perhaps the most rhythmically interesting vocal rock track here.
Overall, Remora's Enamored is bit overly simplistic and rough around the edges. The disc's instrumental compositions are quite good and well produced, proving to be Remora's strong suit. However, its more traditional ethereal rock material is far less impressive, with somewhat unpolished performances as well as sometimes bland and repetitive stripped down song structures and melodies. Perhaps a more cohesive blend of the two styles, rather than a disc made up of separate musical entities, would have been a happy medium. However, Enamored is, instead, a somewhat uneven offering. While obviously flawed and, as a whole, not particularly exceptional, indie music lovers able to overlook Enamored's shortcomings may find the charm in Remora's very simplistic ethereal rock and more interesting experimental/noise outings.
~ Joshua Heinrich, Grave Concerns
Remora exists since 1996.
Eventually they produced a series of tapes with ambient walls of sound
created by guitars. This is a cd with tranquil listening songs. A wide
array of guitar sounds and electronic effects create a breakable musical
world within tiny songs without too much of a format. Something that’s
odd is that the tracklisting doesn’t match how it is presented on the backcover.
"Kill My Way Out of Here" , "Let It Die on the 4th of July" and "Volcana"
are examples of how this formula could work. These songs have magic that
unfortunately is not present in the same way in the rest of the tracks.
There it is all too meaningless or too unattached. For me as a listener
it is i must say, other poeple who enjoy ethereal pop music with a twist
would probably appreciate this better.
~ TekNoir, Gothtronic
new disc from Silber Records head honcho Brian John Mitchell’s own Remora
project. Mitchell’s first full length in four years is reminiscent of what
it might sound like if Roy Montgomery actually wrote songs. There’s something
about the hazy melodies, the minimalistic guitar explorations that are
run through a squadron of effect boxes and his dark murky voice that draws
an invisible line towards the far south. That being said, this is a pretty
dark listening experience that owes equal parts to post-apocalyptic song
writing as to pastoral string massage and heavy blasts of distortion. It’s
overall an impressive listen with subtly shifting melodies draped in enigmatic
and mysterious vocals following the rhythm in an intensely precise way.
~ Mats Gustafson, The Broken Face
Silber Records is known for
releasing material from artists whose music is non-classifiable and sylistically
and technically different. Remora's Enamored is no exception.
The liner notes and track listings that accompany the disc are equally
ambiguous. Peter Aldrich is credited with all sounds guitar, bass, and
voice (except for melodica on three songs and guitar on one), while all
songs, recording and engineering, artwork, and design are by Remora. It's
impossible to tell just who Remora is. It took following links on silbermedia.com
to Remora's Myspace page to find out that Remora is Brian John Mitchell.
On top of that, the songs do not play in the order they are listed, and
since not all of the songs have vocals, the lyrics (included in the CD
booklet) were used to identify nine of the 14 titles.
This self-described "post-apocalyptic pop music" is anything but pop. Post-apocalyptic? - yes, pop? - no. Some pieces on Enamored are more suitable for a science fiction movie soundtrack in which the robots and computers slowly go haywire until all hell breaks loose and no one is in control of anything. But that's only part of the story. Some pass as dark, ambient background music, still others are glimmering, ambient guitar-scapes exploiting the use of effects.
The word is that Enamored was honed down from over 100 pieces written over the past four years while expanding the music from pure guitar noise into a more song-structured band sound. While Remora may have succeeded to some degree, the pieces could have been honed down a little more. That's not to say that there aren't some good moments here. Track 6 is a perfect example; an instrumental track (so it shall remain nameless) that uses echo and delay to create a Frippertronic-like, light, ambient mood. Track 14 is also a nicely structured song that uses delicate guitar picking on top of a backward loop back-beat that slowly gives way to a shimmering drone-like chord progression. In contrast to the feel of tracks 6 and 14, tracks 2 and 3 are instrumentals that use haunting, atmospheric guitar noise with subtle background changes, along with sinister beats that send chills down the spine. All to great effect.
The not-so-good moments that should have been honed out are the vocals. While the lyrics aren't as bad, except for "Legends," the vocals are often out of tune and sometimes out of place. It seems backing harmonies were added to mask this, but it has the opposite effect since they are also off-key. Like the music, the vocals have some bright spots. "The One I've Been Waiting For" and "Volcana" use a whispering, hushed vocal delivery that wouldn't sound out of place in a Her Space Holiday or Magnetic Fields tune. And "Champion" lives up to its name whereby the somber, slightly out-of-tune voices suit the melancholy melody and almost achieves "post-apocalyptic pop music" status.
Because the album was put together from recordings over a four-year period, it lacks cohesiveness and tends to wander aimlessly from track to track. While Enamored does contain enough satisfying music, the songs shift between mood and style making it difficult to listen to the whole disc in one sitting. Rather than honing down from hundreds of recordings, it seems a better approach would have been to build up from the better, more melodic, ambient instrumental pieces.
~ Matt the Raven, Delusions of Adequacy
Remora was originally a solo
project from Silber Records chieftain Brian John Mitchell, showcasing his
guitar driven explorations into soundscapes and noise. Enamored
is the first full length Remora album in four years and on this outing
Mitchell places the focus more firmly on songs, in the process enlisting
the aid of friends like Jamie Barnes and members of Aarktica and Rivulets.
The songs are melodic, yet somewhat minimalist, and are played at a drugged
dreamy pace. Imagine if Nick Drake were a modern day lo-fi singer/songwriter
and you might get something like the songs on Enamored. But
Mitchell hasn't completely abandoned the guitar soundscape journeys that
were the foundation upon which Remora was formed. "Sorry Instrumental"
is a swirling bit of ambient space, with a slow moving bass to give the
atmospherics a rhythmic pulse. "Beams Stereo Sides" is a dreamy sampling
of looped fun, not unlike the earliest Robert Fripp guitar-scape explorations.
"True Glory" and "Arena" are brief slabs of sonic guitar aggression. And
"Knockout" is a nearly 12 minute drone and soundscapes excursion. Lots
of interesting ideas bit it an attentive headphones listen before I was
able to warm up to it.
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
Remora is the musical project
of Silber Records’ leader Brian John Mitchell, who spent four years writing
more than 100 pieces, before allowing these to be sieved down to the fourteen
presented on this CD. Many have been inspired by the 1970s ‘Killraven’
comics written by Don McGregor, but are voiced as slow, burning songs about
passion and the lengths to which people will go to fulfil that emotion.
. Understandably the mood created is far from light-hearted, but repeated
listening reveals enough subtle variations in the music to keep this from
being too monochromatic.
Previously Remora went for a ‘wall of sound’ through guitar overdubs, and this album still has that in abundance, but the songs are barer, permitting the lyrics to cut through. Drums have only been used on one cut, so the dreamy feel isn’t much disturbed. Five of the tracks here are instrumentals, with simple picked guitar phrases being repeated until they become a drone, over which are layered washes of effects. Unfortunately the track listing differs from the real running order, so, whilst it’s easy to work out the songs from their lyrics, the instrumentals must remain unidentified. The first of these (track 3) is lovely….the guitar does its two-chord stuff, but it’s the slow build up of effects/keyboard(?) etc that performs the seduction. The next instrumental (track 6) utilises swelling backwards guitar to underpin what sounds like controlled feedback.
The songs sound much more lo-fi, presumably Remora never felt the need to over-embellish them, which is fine by me. The first one, ‘The one I’ve been waiting for’ uses only a repetition of four guitar notes, with a bit of quiet second echoed guitar behind a double-tracked vocal which explains how love can make you a better person (“I’ll give up my drinking and my pills, I’ll stop scarring up my arms”).
The ‘love against all the odds’ theme continues into the second song, ‘Volcana’ and gets darker still with ‘Kill my way out of here’. The uptempo guitar strums at the start of ‘Out of air’ also suggest hope, but the song tells of a dying man’s urge to say ‘I love you’ one last time (I’m assuming this might be inspired by the film ‘The Abyss’).
So... hope or despair? Therein lies the question, I suppose both of life in general and this album in particular. Despite initial appearances Remora seem, eventually, to land on the side of hope. The last actual song is ‘Champion’ wherein the singer tells how love gives him the strength to protect his loved one, and we end very positively, after an occasionally harrowing trip.
~ Alan Davidson, Ptolemaic Terrascope
I had much hope for this
album but was ultimately left disappointed. It is a huge collection of
songs that give you nothing but repetitive beats, childish lyrics, and
monotone vocals. Every song had an awfully repetitive beat… and that’s
all it was, a beat. The lyrics were immature and the rhymes forced. The
vocals were monotone that sounded exactly the same through every song.
It was almost excruciating to listen to this album, in which every song
was an equation of the same horrible parts. I’m not sure I could ever enjoy
this album in any context. There is nothing enjoyable unless you need something
downbeat and often bland to listen to. At a certain point, nothing can
be done, and I wonder how anyone could make something and think it’s marketable.
It’s really that bad, and I had to turn it off at a certain point.
~ Shaina Loves, Altar Magazine
Remora is the project of
Silber Records mogul Brian John Mitchell, a man who clearly knows a thing
or two about dark, depressing music that borders between the bleak and
the beautiful. For the most part, Remora's Enamored -- the
first Remora record in four years -- finds Mitchell inspired by the same
dark forces that inspire his distinctive record label. His songs fall into
two distinctive categories: dark instrumental passages and bleak folk-rock.
On the instrumentals, Mitchell is inspired; these passages range from violent
to tranquil, and they recall the work of people as distinctive as Robin
Guthrie, Sam Rosenthal and nearly every band on Kranky. (I'd give you specific
names of these passages, but as the track listing is out of order with
the album, it would be wrong to assume what is what.)
His non-instrumental songs, though, are quite challenging, but not necessarily in the way he probably expected. His lyrics are somewhat melodramatic, but there's no way a line like "I'd kill my way out of here/If I thought it would keep you alive" (from "Kill My Way Out of Here") could be anything but melodramatic. His singing is earnest, and when he sings "I killed my brother, it was the Fourth of July/He'd just called my mother a whore" on "Let It Die on the 4th of July," it's hard not to break out in laughter. Plus, Mitchell's voice is quite limited, and when he's being melodramatic, it's hard to resist laughing. When he doesn't oversing, such as on "Weakness-Strength," the results are excellent, but those moments are few and far between.
Though Enamored occasionally falls flat, credit must be given for his gorgeous instrumental passages, his attention to making dark atmospherics, and his distinctive record label. If he were to eschew the singing and focus on the instrumental bits, Remora's next record might be more captivating. As it stands, Enamored is a weak work from someone who could easily do better.
~ Joseph Kyle, Mundane Sounds
I'll be honest... one of
the few artists on the Silber roster that I could never quite get into
is Brian John Mitchell's Remora. There was just something a little off
in the previous releases that I heard - the textures just didn't quite
work, the vocals fell a little too flat and deadpan. However, I have no
such qualms with Remora's latest, Enamored. Here, the atmospherics
prove to be far more beguiling and hypnotic than on previous Remora discs.
Case in point, "Sorry", a nearly 7-minute excursion into the sort of pastoral,
feedback-laced drone that Flying Saucer Attack drowned listeners with on
and Further. Giant, bell-like bass tones take a mesmerizing,
elegiac pace whilst dense thickets of noise and feedback swirl all around
and eventually consume them. It's gorgeous and relaxing, and yet also rife
with anxiety and tension. BTW, more Remora releases are available courtesy
~ Jason Morehead, Opus
This 14-track collection
of seriously bummed-out music was, apparently, culled from more than 100
tracks. If only Remora had angled the editorial knife a little deeper into
the flesh, if only they'd carved away a bit more fat (let's say 14 more
songs), they might really have had something here. Okay, so it would be
more "nothing" than "something", but at least it would be short.
Remora appears to be the work of one really depressed person named Peter Aldrich. While great art can certainly come from great pain, droning that comes from deep spiritual hurt is still droning.
Enamored's problems begin with its vocal and lyrical content: we're treated to lyrics like, "I killed my brother, it was the Fourth of July / He'd just called our mother a whore," (in "Let It Die on the Fourth of July") and "I'm getting so my life is just a haze" ("Legends"). It's dark material, but not so dark that a bit of eye-winking, "Girlfriend In A Coma"-style vocal wit wouldn't undercut it and render it more palatable. Unfortunately, Aldrich's vocal approach leaves no room for subtlety, or humor, or anything short of suicide. His moaning, off-key singing, combined with his self-absorbed lyrics, adds up to a whinging miasma. Seriously, if you were in a bar and the person next to you started in on how miserable his life was, in Aldrich's voice, you'd promptly pay up and move on.
The accompanying music does nothing to alter the mood -- repetitive guitar parts ramble along, song after song, until it's all too much to take. Do yourself a favor -- don't let this Remora get close enough to suck away your good mood.
~ Sean Sullivan, Splendid
Malgré toute la sympathie
que l’on accorde au label américain Silber en général
et certaines de ses productions en particulier (Jamie Barnes, Mike VanPortfleet,
ou encore Aarktica pour ne citer qu’eux), difficile de partager sur toute
la longueur de cette nouvelle production le désœuvrement, le désappointement,
le dépit de son auteur. Peter Aldrich séduit pourtant dès
Champion qui ouvre Enamored (premier album à paraître après
plusieurs années d’absence discographique), malgré son chant
essoufflé et atone qui ferait passer Will Oldham ou Smog pour des
vocalistes d’opéra hors pair. Sa musique dépouillée
et la plupart du temps simplement portée par une guitare sèche
ou modulée par quelques effets ressemble au pendant masculin de
Jessica Bailliff. Autant dire que la musique de Remora transpire le mal
de vivre et que les quelques moments de légèreté égrenés
sur cet album permettent un répit salvateur. Touchant certes, notamment
en fin de parcours avec la chanson Weakness-Strength ou la longue plage
ambiante qui conclue cet album, mais déconseillé aux claustrophobes.
~ Par Denis , Autres Dircetions
Après quatre ans d’absence,
Remora revient. J’avais bien aimé ses contributions au disque The
Alcohol EPs qu’il partageait avec Rivulets et Pale Horse and Rider.
Par conte je n’avais pas accroché à son précédent
album ‘Some past’s future’. C’est donc quelque peu inquiet que je m’avançais
vers ce nouveau disque dont les morceaux ont été sélectionnés
parmi une centaine de titres que Brian John Mitchell avait enregistré
ces quatre dernières années. On navigue entre ambient
sombre et plutôt contemplatif et des chansons folk lo-fi atones ou
Brian chante d’une voix étouffée et dépressive, accompagné
d’une guitare et de sons réverbérés. Si l’illusion
peut se maintenir le temps d’un ep, quatorze titres d’affilée comme
ici ont tôt fait de dépasser nos limites. L’ensemble est un
peu trop monocorde, manque de réelle brillance ou de cohésion.
La démarche et le style ont beau être impeccables, le songwriting
semble impuissant à faire la différence, ne cherche pas à
briser la glace, se contente juste de l’observer, en grelottant.
Dischi come questo non andranno
mai di moda. La depressione fa paura, e viene bollata come tale anche quando
depressione non e'. Il signor Remora alla fine e' pure un simpaticone,
ma ha raccolto in questo disco, tra un centinaio di brani pronti, quelli
piu' minimali e deprimenti che ci potessero essere. Del resto, potendo
contare sull'aiuto di Rivulets, Jessica Bailiff e Jon DeRosa (Aarktica)
non ci si poteva aspettare certo un simpatico dischetto si rock'n'roll
Il disco e' praticamente pervaso di drones vari che fanno da lugubre sottofondo (occhio! questo disco pur essendo post-pop-sperimentale-apocalittico piace pure ai dark d'oltreoceano) sui quali il nostro suona la chitarra (poca) e canta delle limpide storie, anche d'amore, sulle quali nulla si puo' obiettare.
Se solo la seconda repubblica non avesse portato con se' il vecchio rock cerchiobottista (grazie De LaSqueva per la definizione!) che riempie tutti i giorni l'aere, questo sarebbe uno dei vostri dischi preferiti. Invece rimarra' materia per pochi.
~ Onga, Martini Brothers
Tout aussi dépouillé
et acoustique aux premiers abords, Enamored, le premier album
de Remora apparaît toutefois nettement plus sombre et dérangeant
que son collègue de label. Un disque où le métamorphisme
de la guitare règne en maître absolu, donnant aussi bien dans
le noise atmosphérique (Sorry) que dans la ballade nocturne, la
folk déstructurée ou le jeu de boucles et d’effets expérimental.
Passé le cap d’un chant épuré du moindre artifice
et presque posé par-dessus la musique, on se surprend rapidement
à plonger tête la première dans l’écoute de
ce disque austère de prime abord mais animé d’une créativité
Remora é il progetto
di Brian Mitchell, label boss della piccola gloriosa etichetta americana
Silber. All'inizio della sua avventura artistica, durante la seconda
metà degli anni '90, Remora pubblicava dischi sperimantali, blob
sonori impastati con tutto quello che le derive post-industriali a quel
tempo potevano offrire. Oggi Remora torna sul mercato discografico
con un album sempre intriso di ambient cupa e malata, ma più orientato
verso la forma canzone ed in generale più suonato. Sarà
per merito degli amici che in questi anni lo hanno consigliato (Aarktica,
Rivulets, Jessica Bailiff...), o dell'altro amico chitarrista Peter Aldrich
che suono più di un brano sull'album, ma Enamored é davvero
un risultato di tutto rispettonella discografia già corposa di Brian
Mitchell. Se non conoscete questo spaccato di provincia americana
e volete dare un'occhiata, partite da qui.
~ Roberto Mandolini, Losing Today
Brian J. Mitchell prosegue
la sua emozionante serie di esplorazioni soniche sotto la sigla Remora,
spostando il centro facale delle sue osservazioni più verso la formacanzone,
per quanto scarna e un po' emaciata, parzialmente sulla scia della fondamentale
lezione di Will odlham. Una scaletta che deve essere stata ripensata
all'ultima momento (la sequenza delle tracce non corrisponde a quanto riportato
sul libretto) ci permette di identificare i soli pezzi cantati, anche se
va detto che spesso sono i rari strumentali a fornire gli spunti più
interessanti; storie di amori e di perdite, spesso segnate da ansia e turbamento,
si susseguono con toni prevalentemente pacati e sommessi, dispensando scampoli
di magia bel canto dolente di "Bad Person," annegato da una delicata nube
di effetti, e nella cinica ricostruzione fratricida di "Let It Die on the
4th of July." Da Segnalare l'apporto di Peter Aldrich come strumentista
e regista aggiunto, decisivo nel caratterizzare l'unico brano non chitarristico,
"weakness-strength," con l'uggiosotimbro di una tastiera giocattolo.
~ Raffaele Zappala, Rockerilla
Sound exploitation since
Non credo sia il segreto di pulcinella tuttavia, non vorrei mettere nella ca##a (ehm ehm ci siamo capiti, vero?) il buon Brian con la rivelazione che i Remora altro non sono se non la band del boss della Silber.
E’ strano vedere un discografico che scommette sul proprio talento e di questo mi devo complimentare con lui anche perché ‘Enamored’ è sicuramente un disco difficile da digerire, anzi trattasi dell’album più ostico proveniente dal catalogo della Silber Records che sino ad oggi abbia mai ascoltato.
La musica dei Remora è fondata su chitarre noise ed è caratterizzata da una ossessiva ripetitività ed è proprio questo riciclo di “pennellate” che rende pesante l’ascolto di ‘Enamored’. In più metteteci anche la sua durata eccessiva (57 minuti) e la frittata è fatta. Dite? Non credo… Chi conosce i Remora sa benissimo di quale morte andrà a morire. I loro dischi sono sempre stati piuttosto lunghi ed il fascino che si nasconde tra le loro note consta proprio in questa sorta di “sfinimento”. I brani potrebbero apparire delle semplici (si fa per dire) ballad dal sapore apocalittico condite da divagazioni noise ma sono qualcosa di più intimo. La malinconia, il minimalismo e le atmosfere plumbee non potrebbero sposarsi con l’amore ma Brian gioca questa carta e lo fa con successo.
In Italia rimarranno sconosciuti ma dopo il nuovo disco di Tara la Silber si impone un’altra volta all’attenzione dei media grazie alla sua voglia di imporre qualcosa di diverso!
~ Lux, Kronic