Waaaaaay back in December Viral Conspiracy release my EP “Intona Remorae". People dug it which is interesting considering VCR (as they;re known) usually releases louder, faster, noisier and angrier stuff than this. Yet there it is. In side you will find lengthy notes on each song. I’ve included these here because, well, I can. So dig in:
These songs that make up “Intona Remorae” were born from destruction. In early 2018 I suffered catastrophic data loss, losing much of the last 18 years of music. With the past wiped clean but for finished songs I found myself first grieving then freed. With none of the loops, samples, beats or any other bits of sound and noise I usually drew from I was no longer bound to my habits. So I sought to devise a small set of songs within a fairly rigid framework. I do this often, actually, even before the data loss of 2018. And as is often the case when I dove deeper into the tracks, the limitations I imposed began to bind and constrain rather than focus and energize me. Once loosened, new aspects of the tracks emerged, exposed not because of changes in anything external but only internal. My self-imposed rules were few but firm: each track used roughly the same arrangement of an 808 drum machine, an organ simulator, new samples for atmospherics and each track’s length was not to exceed nine minutes. Of course by the end of the EP, Herbivores, shows I threw that rule aside and let the track blossom to its full size.
As far as instrumentation went, I chose some basics as the foundation. A simple 808 kit formed the root fo the percussive elements while a Hammond organ emulator provided much of the melody and threnodic parts. Audio Damage’s Basic was used for bass and much of their effects for reverb, delays and such. Sonic Charge’s SynPlant, with its extensive morphing capabilities, also figures heavily into the tracks. I sought to keep a large amount of space in each track while at the same time have enough occurring at any given moment so that hopefully the listener is engaged while not entirely aware of the amount of time passing.
The title itself is a nod to the great composer, painter and futurist Luigi Rossolo. While not expressly imitating his methods or concepts, the EP definitely embodies the idea of evolution, moving forward into new sounds and modes of conceptualizing music. The lowly remorae, a suckerfish usually found attached to a larger sea creature, might seem an odd thing to name check in the title. That is until one realizes that remorae means “delay” in Latin, as suckerfish were thought to slow a sailing vessel down. In fact their aerodynamic design allows them to adhere painlessly and easily to their hosts without dragging unless their numbers grow too large. Once considering this, the title becomes “delay sounds” or “delayed tones” which is perfect.
The simple howl of a lone train whistle across a dark, barren landscape. Morning in a rust belt city, the citizens awakening hungover, hopeless and determined to carry on. The drones remind me of Richard Skelton, the enigmatic artist who leaves instruments out to the elements then records them. While I did that with none of these - it’s all pretty much done “in the box” i.e. the computer - I find a kinship in the wide open space of his compositions.
I wrote this during the worst pollen attack of my life. My home was covered with a blanket of yellow powder which infrequent rains did little to remove. At one point I had to sequester myself in a room with an air conditioner and wait out the resulting allergy attack. Only a strong rain cut the powdery foe down. This track bears some of the urgency and sluggish movement that I felt. Wanting it to end but being unable to push my body’s ability to fight without prolonging the allergen’s attack on my system. So within the song, the drums are sparse but insistent. The synths murky and elusive or forceful and harsh. Much like sitting in a room on a bright sunny day wishing you could sleep off the pollen bloom.
The screams are those of my daughter from her infancy, run through the magnificent Quanta plugin. Once manipulated they become unnerving and unholy, like ghosts hovering up high in the cathedral of the mind. The frenetic ice of an arpeggiated organ against the lagomorphic swirl of the bass synth and the heavily processed stabs creates an atmosphere of liturgic reverence, a large space wherein piety and control collide. The word Troglodyte refers to everything from a species of cave-dweller (the name literally translates as “cave goer”) to an ancient seaport in Egypt. Here the title refers to ancient ways of being and the need to rise beyond them, breaking the chains of dogma, forcing the dead hand of habit and going beyond.
The track evolves slowly like a lifeforms, sounds collapsing and reforming like the waves of a primordial ocean beating against a shoreline of newly formed volcanic rock. Over time the rhythms coalesce into a shambling, loping unity under the undying rhythm of the universe as portrayed here by the ever present 808. Imagine ancient primates come down from the trees to stare up at the night time heavens, their minds at the cusp of sentience as they struggle to comprehend the vastness laid out before them. While many cowered in fear at this display of dark and lonely astronomical power, perhaps a few maintained their gaze and push consciousness forward a few inches each time they did so. Evolution is a slow, persistent process where life finds a way no matter what.