CD 2010 | Silber 085
16 tracks, 42 minutes
$12 ($14 international, $5 download (256 kbps, ~114 megs))
There are equal parts mechanized,
shiny space age marvel on Remora’s Mecha to accompany the twisted, burning
wreckage it suggests.
What exactly does that mean?
It means that the opening track, “March” beeps and drones while supporting a menacing bounce as though your joystick controlled star fighter is limping toward the game’s final encounter; the next track, “Nevada Smith” is just as grim, a personal suicide mission with a vaguely western feeling. Known primarily through their fifteen year career as a guitar noise and experimental band, Remora transforms into something much different on Mecha. It’s a more computer-like skin than whole man. In some places the vocals are downright shudder worthy from best friend killing on “WW III” to bleak resolve on “Lilly” giving the sum air of a world without feeling.
A world that perhaps only a robot could envision.
It has been my lasting impression that any Remora recording is a unique, mind-changing listen that is best considered with the context of their entire catalog in mind (it’s hard to imagine that this is the same band that produced Ambient Drones For One Guitar or 1998’s Amerse). The soundscape or whole song-based Mecha does little to dissuade me of that. It is a strong, unique twist on their futuristic sound but somewhat limited without the companion context of their other work. I say, dive into all of it.
~ Erick Mertz, Kevchino
This is a lot different to
anything else I’ve heard by Remora. The guitars have largely been jettisoned
in favour of early eighties analogue synthesisers. Mecha is a concept album
put together by Remora (aka Silber head-honcho Brian John Mitchell) with
an accompanying comic. It’s a tale of a dystopian future of robot freedom
fighters in the grand DC/Marvel tradition.
Musically, this is deliberately almost simplistic stuff with the Normal, pre-Dare Human League and the non-pop side of OMD the obvious reference points. The tracks with vocals are given a dispassionate deadpan delivery that resembles John Foxx’s most mechanistic performances.
It’s obviously a deliberate move by Remora to make Mecha sound like something that could have been made thirty years ago at the pre-dawn of the synthpop boom. It works for the most part, but there’s a nagging feeling that a number of tracks overdo the two-note, one finger synth patterns and could use a bit more complexity. There are interludes that are more abstract and do help to break up the icy monotony, injecting a little dirt to the otherwise clean boing-boing-boing of the synth melodies. Many of these are the most successful pieces – the industrial metallurgy of closer 049 is particularly good.
I guess Mecha is an attempt to reconnect with the sci-fi tradition of albums such as Travelogue and Reproduction, and as a retro-future exercise it achieves everything it sets out to admirably. In some ways, in 2010 such a project is akin to the “Ethnological Forgeries” committed by Can where they created pseudo-facsimile versions of obscure tribal music or scratchy twenties hot jazz records – i.e. an exercise in musical time travel.
~ Music Musings & Miscellany
Remora: "Lilly" - This track
comes from the new Remora album "Mecha" which is available now through
the consistently remarkable Silber label. The Silber website describes
the album as "Post apocalyptic pop. Blurps & bleeps. Bridges between
machine & human brains. Music for androids. Part post rock, part electro,
& part folk; love songs, fight songs, & ballads; distorted future
music." which just about covers it. According to the website you will also
be furnished with a copy of the Mecha mini comic whatever that may be and
I should let you know that a limited number of copies are available in
tins because let's face it. Any record which comes in a tin needs to be
~ Burning World Pod Fodder
"Mecha" è un concept
album realizzato da Remora aka Brian John Mitchell, assieme al disco viene
allegato un fumetto che racconta di un futuro abitato da robot che combattono
per la libertà; la musica è la colonna sonora del fumetto
Sintetizzatori analogici, chitarre, industrial ed elettronica lavorata per farci entrare nel mondo di Mecha e per farci ambientare (non a caso) tra i robot ed apprendere il motivo della loro esistenza; i brani sembrano, dopo svariati ascolti, un po’ troppi, e dovrebbe esserci un po’ più di variante per poter alleggerire il concept. La voce, non sempre presente, è un mix tra John Foxx e Sephin Merritt, pacata e descrittiva più che un vero e proprio canto.
Si tratta quindi di un vero e proprio salto nel futuro, un ipotesi fredda e robotica dove se non si combatte di perde; “049” è perfetta per questo viaggio, così chi intraprenderà il cammino potrà capire cosa li aspetta in “Mecha”: industrial, metalli e loop ipnotici che difficilmente rasserenano.
Collaborazioni artistiche di questo tipo, tra diverse tipologie d’arte, hanno preso piede anche in Italia con Robotradio Records (non a caso porta questo nome?) e sono sempre ben accette. C’è da perfezionare alcune cose, come la scelta di mettere così tanti pezzi, e poi ci siamo.
~ Velvet Goldmine