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Remora: Mecha Remora - Mecha
CD 2010 | Silber 085
16 tracks, 42 minutes
$12 ($18 international, $5 download (256 kbps, ~114 megs))
Remora returns armed with sub-midi technology instead of a guitar.  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.  Includes a copy of the Mecha mini-comic.  Limited number of physical copies in metal tins.

: Press Release
: Reviews
: Listen to the track Nevada Smith

Track Listing:
March, Nevada Smith, Every Morning, Collapse, WW III, Demon Fighter, Slip Sky, Lilly, Love Song, My Son, Stripper Lessons, The One I've Been Waiting For, Le Vestibule 500, Last Call for Alcohol, 10,004, 049

The first thing that strikes you about about Mecha, which is about the tenth album by Silber Records’ founder Brian John Mitchell’s recording alias since its inception in the mid-1990s, is the stickered metal box the CD is housed in (alongside another sticker, a mini-comic, and equally miniature information sheet). Very Metal Box, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends with Rotten’s PIL, although Mecha, like PIL’s second album, represents a departure to Mitchell’s usual sonic strategies. Guitars and post-rock atmospherics are dropped in favour of a gloopy electronic approach that draws from folk, downer pop, electro, machine musik and even the very same post-punk sound that PIL themselves helped map out. In fact, if this was laced with German vocals instead of Mitchell’s heavily medicated and deadpan ones, Mecha wouldn’t sound too out of place on a dancefloor dedicated to early ‘80s mutant-punk. Not that you can dance to much of it unless heavily medicated yourself and merely think that you can. But this is a nice album, full of little twists and surprises amongst its otherwise intoxicated and broken robot blend. Extremely nice. I only hope Brian’s frame of mind is generally better than this suggests.
~ Richard Johnson, Adverse Effect

We have been following this great little label, Silber records for quite some time. We got some new releases from those hard working guys, and the first we have heard, coming from Remora, a dark guitar noise bleep album titled Mecha, with a comics book attached, inspired by this original sounding project, written by this label chief Brian John Mitchell, illustrated by Johnny Hoang. We love the instrumental tracks off this album, like ‘Slip Sky’, ‘March’, ‘Le Vestibule 500’ and the dark hypnotic ‘049’. Check out the opening track, ‘March’, although its electronic sound doesn’t represent the sound of the whole project. Seems like its going to be a Silbermedia weekend here.

~ Shlomo Sonnenfeld,

Drone rumbling with repetitive electronic accompaniments, psych in places, bleak & minimalist in others.  Walls of guitar noise meddled about with effects give a disorienting feel....  At this point Remora has notched up about 18 releases that I can count, including a bunch of cassette releases & 2, 3, & 4 way splits.
~ Blotter - The Bad Acid Podcast

Remora is back with a new full length album on Silber Records. This project has often delivered very weird guitar experiments. The originality of the sound has often seduced me more than the real content. “Mecha” sounds like a real rebirth for Remora. We get an album on which the band experiments with electronics.
We here get electro loops and a kind of vintage electronics reminding to the 80s. It all remains pretty experimental, but totally different from what I’ve heard for so far. “Mecha” is moving in between instrumental cuts and sung tracks. The vocals are sometimes reminding me of Edward Ka-Spel. There’s a similar way of singing. Remora brings some kind of little stories so it’s not really a surprise to discover a kind of mini comics stories in this album (which was conceived by the label owner Brian John Mitchell).
“Mecha” is a quite diversified release although there’s a constant experimental style emerging from the songs. The music and song structures are often rudimentary, but that’s precisely what brings the 80s to mind. Songs like “Nevada Smith”, “My Son”, “10,004” or yet “Slip Sky” is illustrating this feeling of the early years of electronics. Some of these titles rang a bell. I discovered that several songs from “Mecha” have been previously released on different older albums of Remora. The original versions were guitar-like while “Mecha” stands for the electronic adaptation. The idea is pretty original and in my opinion much more convincing.
Notice by the way that this album was released in a round iron box, which is quite alluring.
~ Side-Line

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 owned.
~ 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 stesso.
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

Quanti modi ci sono per interpretare il drone? Per Remora, progetto solista di Brian John Mitchell, decisamente infiniti, facendosi prima conoscere per i suoi rumorosi lavori di chitarra e album di cover, poi per una serie di esperimenti con vocalizzi a capella e, ora, con il nuovo lavoro 'Mecha', si tratta di escursioni pop elettroniche.
L'intero album è stato inizialmente composto su chitarra, poi il tutto è stato convertito con diversi strumenti midi, utilizzando Little Drummer Boy; tra l'altro diversi pezzi sono già comparsi in versione non elettronica in diversi lavori del passato. Il risultato è sicuramente particolare, come se gli Hum avessero deciso di buttarsi a fare elettronica a capofitto (ascoltate WWIII e ditemi se non ve li ricorda!).
L'inizio con la strumentale e robotica March mi aveva lasciato un po' stranito, ma poi l'orecchiabilità di momenti notevoli come la tenera Demon Fighter o Lilly e l'angolare Every Morning mi ha convinto in pieno. La tematica sottostante all'album è la storia di un uomo fatto schiavo su Marte che fugge e scopre l'amore, per poi perderlo e decidere di tornare a combattere con l'aiuto di un enorme robot, su cui appunto graffitterà il nome Mecha.
Certo, lo stile di cantato distaccato e perennemente filtrato come fosse attraverso un baracchino, dopo dodici canzoni risulta abbastanza fastidioso; ma il tema portante di 'Mecha' è proprio quello, e comunque ben si sposa con l'umore perennemente estraniato e triste. Insomma, personalmente, non l'ho trovato un gran ostacolo al godimento dell'album.
Insomma, dopo un primo momento di straniamento, a cui sarà ben abituato chi ha già seguito Remora in passato, è difficile non abbandonarsi in pieno alla malinconia che impregna 'Mecha', risultando un esperimento musicalmente forse non riuscitissimo (alcuni strumenti midi a volte suonano piuttosto plasticosi), ma che rimane un album davvero interessante, dal buon ritmo e produzione. Chi l'avrebbe mai detto!
~ Damiano Gerli, Kathodik