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Remora - songs i sing songs i sing
CD EP 2007 | North Pole 005
13 tracks, 16 minutes, plus 1 video
Well, here is a release you thought would never exist. For those of you who have not seen Remora live in the past two years (or gotten personal phone messages), this side of Remora is completely unknown.  On this release Remora goes a cappella in the songs from the live show done while tuning guitar.  Sometimes comedic, sometimes spiritual, & occasionally poignant.  This was predominantly recorded by Jessica Bailiff during Remora’s 2006 spring tour & includes covers of “We Will Fall” (The Stooges), “Heartworms” (Coil), “Sores” (Rollerball), & a passage from Job.  Beautiful hand letter-pressed artwork by Shane Sauers & a video for “Sores” also by Mister Sauers.  If Devo 2.0 was the weirdest thing in your collection, this is for you!
: Listen to the track Job 39
: Press release
Track Listing: half-birthday, Job 39, I never had a home, we will fall, Chickadee, Sores, mason jar, These Days, lungs, I called your mom, Motherless Child, Gladness Song, Heartworms

Between songs Brian John Mitchell AKA Remora has been known to sing acepella songs and tell small stories. These have now been recorded and released as “Songs I Sing”. Full of atmosphere the pieces include a rendition of Job 39, covers of the Stooges, Coil, and Rollerball (the disc is released on North Pole Records which is run by Rollerball member Shane De Leon) and some slow and moving songs that creep under the skin. Musical highlights include the five minute version of “We Will Fall” (Stooges), and the cover of “Heartworms” (Coil), but it is the short original pieces that shine, a new collection of folk recordings for the Terrascope generation. Mentioned to for the beautiful letter pressed cover that adds to the package.
~ Simon Lewis, Terrascope Rumbles

‘Songs I Sing’ is the latest from Brian John Mitchell and his band Remora. This is definitely something a bit different for those that are already familiar with Remora’s sound since this album is almost completely voice and the music if it can even be called that is very minimal. The story behind this album is that while performing live Brian often times sings short a Capella tunes while tuning or changing his guitar. After a tour with Rollerball back in 2005 Shane de Leon from Rollerball encouraged Brian to record these songs and promised to release them on his label North Pole Records. The result is an odd mixture of short songs that feature voice and voices creating backing melodies that some what resemble an ambient like form. The songs are mostly quick humorous tunes, but some are a bit more unusual, especially the Stooges and Coil covers. I would say the covers are also definitely the most enjoyable of this thirteen song bunch. A bit hard to fully illustrate but I’d imagine if you’ve seen Remora live then you have some idea of what this album sounds like, but for those that haven’t then you may be really surprised and also keep in mind that the album is only sixteen minutes long.
~ Joe Mlodik, Lunar Hypnosis

Songs I Sing is a perfectly descriptive title for this collection, as that’s what’s on it. Its genesis was the songs Remora (Brian John Mitchell) would find himself singing a cappella on-stage, to fill time while switching instruments or changing a guitar string. He took these songs and recorded them, mostly in a house but also, in a couple cases, in a hotel room and as a voicemail message. Strung all together like this, they form a strange and alluring animal: a demonstration of how disorienting yet comforting one voice singing can be. Some resemble the quickly written, straight-from-the-head songs of a child (“Half-Birthday”, “Sores”), others reverent hymns (“We Will Fall”, which structurally resembles a prayer but lyrically more of a confessional letter). There’s some element of folk tradition in these too, no matter how humorously or jokingly it’s conveyed. (No surprise, then, when he sings “Motherless Child”). He sings sometimes in a Townes Van Zandt-style troubadour’s voice (“I Called Your Mom”), sometimes the same way he sings Remora’s usual song-drones, sometimes demonic (“Heartworms”), and sometimes in a wicked-fast, odd way (the shortest songs, generally). All in all, this album comes off like a joke/experiment, but it’s also hard to shake, resembling as it does the ghosts of voices past, strung together as one. Think of exorcisms, of spirits singing through people, but also those goofy little ditties we all sing to our loved ones, in the moment.
~ Dave Heaton, erasing clouds

Known for his guitar driven explorations into soundscapes and noise, Remora (aka Brian John Mitchell) also adds vocals to many of his songs, making for an interesting combination of music, sound and voice. Songs I Sing is quite different for Brian, being a 13 track, 18 minute, vocal only work. The story is that Brian was touring with Rollerball and because he could only bring one guitar out west with him he would have to restring the instrument on stage whenever he broke strings. So he would keep the audience occupied by improvising songs during the restringing, which Shane of Rollerball liked so much he wanted to release on his North Pole label.
Most of the songs are less than two minutes and several less than one minute. Just fun little statements, and at times feeling like sing-song spoken word. While this is absolutely not the disc to introduce newcomers to Remora, it will appeal to those well familiar with Brian's work. I think it was even easier for me to appreciate because I've had the opportunity to see Brian perform live twice this summer. (No, he didn't break any strings but we were treated to his songs anyway.)
Of the 13 songs, three are covers. Coil's "Heartworms" is a standout. I never heard the original but I love the double tracked voice singing "there's too much blood in my alcohol". Brian does a good job with The Stooges' "I Will Fall", which of any Stooges song is probably the most amendable to the kind of vocal treatment Brian is working with. Brian also cover's Rollerball's "Sores", and if you pop the CD in your computer you'll find a video of the song (in AVI, Quicktime, and MPEG formats).
~ Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

Brian John Mitchell si occupa della sua Silber Records da oltre dieci anni. Da altrettanto tempo pubblica dischi a nome Remora. Affreschi alienanti della disumanizzazione post industriale. “Songs I Sing” è invece un'altra cosa. Una raccolta di una dozzina di canzoni cantate a cappella con l'accompagnamento solo di un delay e di Jessica Bailiff al mixer. L'idea di registrare queste canzoni bizzarre è venuta a Shane De Leon dei Rollerball dopo aver sentito Brian intonare alcune melodie a cappella mentre accordava le sue chitarre durante alcuni tenuti assieme nel 2005. Tra le tredici canzoni di “Songs I Sing” - che insieme non superano i sedici minuti di durata – ci sono anche un tradizionale, “Motherless Child, una cover degli Stooges, “We Will Fall”, una dei Coil, “Heartworms”, e una dei Rollerball, “Sores”, di cui il cd contiene anche un video.
~ Roberto Mandolini, Losing Today

Azzardare è sperimentare?
Forse è uno scherzo. Probabilmente un gioco. Tuttavia Brian John Mitchell continua a stupire. Il titolo rivela già il contenuto del disco, ma sicuramente è troppo “stupido” per essere capito. I Remora, questa volta, accantonano le chitarre noise ed i suoni apocalittici per lanciarsi in una nuova (assurda) sfida sponsorizzata dal leader dei Rollerball Shane De Leon che – tra l’altro – è il titolare della piccola label North Pale (di cui consiglio la pazzia sonora di Miss Massive Snowflake).
Tredici canzoni, di cui la maggior parte è farina del suo sacco, più la grandiosa e riuscita cover “We Will Fall” dei Stooges, “Heartworms” dei Coil e “Sores” dei Rollerball. Tutte rigorosamente cantate a cappella a casa di Jessica Bailiff, in una stanza d’hotel e nella camera da letto di Brian. Spettacolo della semplicità.
La durata del CD è brevissima. 16 minuti appaiono comunque un “minutaggio” azzeccato per una release fuori da ogni schema, ma in alcuni frangenti davvero affascinante (vedi la cover dei Stooges). Ed ora i classici “ero capace anch’io” si sprecheranno… Intanto però io mi guardo il video-assurdo di "Sores" alla facciazza loro! Evviva le galline!
~ Alessandro Lucentini, Kronic

Remora is Brian John Mitchell, een Amerikaanse songwriter die gitaar speelt. Tijdens live optredens heeft hij blijkbaar de gewoonte om tussen nummers door, als hij zijn gitaar stemt of snaren vervangt, a capella deuntjes te zingen. Aangespoord door Shane de Leon van Rollerball heeft hij een aantal van deze liedjes opgenomen en uitgebracht onder de naam "Songs I Sing". Wat we krijgen is een erg kort "album", slechts vijftien minuten, met dertien liedjes. Sommigen zijn niet meer dan elf of twaalf seconden lang en er is één lang nummer van vijf minuten, wat een cover is van The Stooges' "We Will Fall". De nummers zijn dus allemaal a capella, alhoewel sommigen in de studio van extra lagen vervormde vokalen zijn voorzien, zoals het spookachtige "I Never Had A Home".
Dit plaatje is duidelijk een curiositeit, en is naar mijn mening iets wat alleen die-hard Remora fans zullen willen aanschaffen. Met vijftien minuten heeft het wel erg weinig om het lijf. Het toevoegen van een kort, korzelig filmpje van Brian (?) die in een kippenhok het liedje "Sores" zingt, verandert daar niet veel aan. Mij heeft het er wel van overtuigd dat Brian een prettige stem heeft, en dat Remora een naam is die ik vroeger of later nog wel eens zal willen beluisteren.
~ Jaap Kamminga, IkEcht