Remora - "Ambient Drones For One Guitar" (Amerse Music 1999, Cassette)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
Remora is a solo guitar project of North Carolina based musician, writer, and publisher Brian John Mitchell. The music is quite aptly described by the album title and the song titles. The songs are all titled as Ambient Drone... "Long Ambient Drone #1", Short Ambient Drone #4"... you get the idea. But Remora has two strengths that keep the music from being dime a dozen repetitive loops and noise experimentations. First, the music is surprisingly melodic. Noise can be as aesthetically pleasing as floating electronica, but the challenge is greater in achieving this goal in the noise realm. The drones are sonic assaults, but somehow manage to be soothing at the same time. Second, it sounds like two or three people are creating this music. I've said many times in these pages I'm not a technical person, and it always amazes me when I hear so many layers of sound and realize that it's only one person creating it. Mitchell blazes away to the "beat" of his loops, guitar wandering and exploring the corridors of the universe and the possibilities of pure sound. In fact, it's the choice and use of sound rather than any sense of musical development that makes this an enjoyable listen.
Mitchell did a good job of keeping my attention for 90 minutes and even at the most ear shattering, brain piercing moments managed to retain a sense of cosmic drift. Nails on the blackboard... but they're well manicured.
For more information you can visit the Remora web site. Explore this sight! There's a wealth of info on many related bands (Swans, Jarboe, etc). Plus the QRD zine.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz