Remnant is a fierce whirlwind of intense cinematic activity. Zvuku is an Irish experimental composer who, with Remnant, has chosen to light the modern classical flame. Remnant’s monolithic structures, which are anything but remnants, should ensure that his name isn’t left in the shadowy underworld of the darkly lit genre. Bristling with electricity, Remnant graces both Heat Death Records and the impressive Futuresequence, with the prospect of a vinyl release on the former and a digital release on the latter.
Remnant is one of a growing number of releases to be funded online, via projects such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It is through an Indiegogo campaign that Remnant finds its home. On the site, there are options to fund a high quality vinyl release as well as a limited CDr run of remixes.
Remnant fits under the tag of modern composition, with dull coloured piano sections and headstrong, processed strings, but it presents itself as a larger, expansive sphere of uncertainty. Usually, we’re used to the tight-knit comfort of glowing strings and slow development. Remnant takes us through spacious passages that lead into sudden, solo piano lines. Due to the presence of an underlying, ominous drone, the pieces spread themselves widely – like teardrops of ink on paper – until a deep, cavernous arc of sound is revealed, Zvuku’s piano acting as the torchlight in a dark world.
Remnant could be the soundtrack for a silent motion picture that, literally, never saw the light of day. The intense stone walls of crumbling, ancient rock provide a harsher, edgy sound, descending over the jet-black, icy waters like thicker strands of ink.
It may feel familiar, but this is where the quality of the music really rises to the fore. Zvuku has a space all to his own in an otherwise claustrophobic setting; placing the music against deep-set angles that no-one else has, to date, created. Credit must also go to Taylor Deupree, who mastered the album.
Softer spheres decorate the outer layers of the music, made sustainable by a drop in tempo. ‘Coldsong’ lazily slows down the rhythm and the bpm, the drop helping to create even more space in a cave system that has been dormant for centuries. The intricate arrangements are dazzling to behold – the melody, glued to the finger-plucked strings, is coupled with a spaced-out, bleak, black drone. There isn’t much light here, nor is there the heat that typically rises off the strings; it’s a cold vision, like that of a cold, deadened leaf left to hang on a winter’s day.
‘Hume’, on the other hand, shifts its attention solely on a drone, with a flash of light fixed on a specific moment in time, the crumbling decay of stone inverting in on itself. ‘Order’, the coda, attaches to itself a thin, pale shadow that slips through a system of thin pipes, sounding out with a thinner drone that’s on the way to the surface. On the horizon, orange, apocalyptic skies light up broken structures, their flames lighting up the sky as if it were a torchlight to the stars. Only remnants remain.