It's been a week of electronic music of the experimental variety here on Immortal Reviews, and to send it off, we have a unique blend of two unlikely genres. Mica Levi hits heads with Oliver Coates to create Remain Calm, an odd album that is neither here or there.
Remain Calm combines classical music with electronic samples. It's an eclectic mix, but when balanced, they work well together. It's a short album, clocking in at under thirty minutes, but in that time there is definitely variety. The pair dabbles with different textures throughout the record, exploring minimalism amidst a seemingly shocking combination of genres. The dark sounds of 'Barok Main' contrast the upbeat, sampled vocals of 'Xhill Stepping,' really showing the divid of sound on the record.
It's hard to describe what exactly this album is. It's avant-garde, but it's also contemporary classical. Furthermore, it dabbles with experimental electronica and sampling. "Deep minimalism" is a term being thrown around to describe this record, and it works out well. Many songs find atmosphere amongst their simplicity: see 'Bless Our Toes,' creepy strings harmoniously sounding beneath weird samples without anything sounding too upfront. Oliver Coates is a behind-the-scenes collaborator with Radiohead, his strings being the contribution to their albums and this one. Mica Levi provides the odd samples and synths, creating the somewhat left-field sounds this record has to offer.
Our previous reviews have had much the same criticisms, but Remain Calm suffers from different problems. Ironically, one of the album's biggest problems is that it's just too weird. There are flashes of great ideas and dark textures that interlace themselves into each song, but the glitching sounds sometimes distort the atmosphere. The playtime is both a blessing and a curse; the song's are generally short and don't build to something that never comes, but it's laced with pointless, thirty second interludes that really don't add anything to the record.
Remain Calm has great ideas, but none are executed in the right ways. Mica Levi and Oliver Coates had the right mindset, but perhaps they can reconvene in the future to make something that's more substantial and has direction. Remain Calm just feels like a mess.
Favorite Track: Barok Main
Least Favorite Tracks: Interludes, County H
Rating: 43 / 100