Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Remanence — Sepiadrone
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-04-03
Remanence represents the collaborative efforts of Brian McWilliams (Aperus) and John Phipps, a project which started in 1999 with the album Apparitions and produced two more full length recordings by 2015. But, as sometimes happens, McWilliams and Phipps started this album in Michigan and Iowa but ended up in different parts of the country (New Mexico and Oregon respectively) and the work that they had begun on this, their fourth full length release, kept stalling and losing momentum due to the geographical distance. But with a final effort in 2022 to complete the project and reassemble and remix the parts, this baby was finally born. The music at hand clearly exists in the ambient realm, sounds that are engaging and mystical in some strange way, sounds that can be fully appreciated on a number of levels. When the disc first arrived, It ended up in my player for hours on repeat; I wasn’t even sure what I was listening to exactly, but it was certainly hitting the spot for me. The ten tracks at hand are essentially drone-based sound sculptures (hence the title) but mixed with interesting and mysterious tones, melodic fragments, clusters of dark noise, occasional percussive elements, and curious field recordings. This is meant for intense listening, every moment is interesting and constantly evolving — it may have a relaxing effect but it won’t put the listener to sleep. There are long silent pauses between some of the tracks that are just as important as the pieces they connect. Certain ideas appear in multiple settings throughout the album, for example “Sentinel Species” and “Sentinel Species Reprise,” and “Subterrain,” “Subterrain 2,” and “Subterrain Distortion Mix,” as well as the title track (in three parts), all containing ideas that are separated and then reconstituted in different ways, making for a dreamy, dare I say psychedelic experience, a beautiful chaos. Mention must be made of the packaging for the CD — it comes housed in a metal box with the artwork pasted on the front and back; inside with the disc there are a number of two-sided photo-cards of textural images that fit the music perfectly, as well as a card with liner notes (including a listing of the instrumentation) and a black and white photo of the two protagonists at work in the studio. Beautiful, compelling, mysterious, and haunting.
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