Membranes: Inner Space/Outer Space (Louder Than War, 2016)

January 27, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Membranes: Inner Space/Outer Space

Membranes: Inner Space/Outer Space

The Membranes are a post-punk band who formed in the early ’80s, went on hiatus in 1990, and reformed in 2009. They played an ATP festival at the request of My Bloody Valentine, released some EPs, and then scientifically-minded album Dark Matter/Dark Energy in 2015. This is its remix album. It ventures into dub, industrial, and dark trip-hop, among other styles. Think late ’90s/early ’00s Primal Scream, but only occasionally as angry or noisy. The first 2 tracks are dark and lush, then “Do The Supernova (Phillip Boa Remix)” is more of an industrial rock rave-up. Soundtrack composer (and Pop Will Eat Itself founder) Clint Mansell turns “The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light” into a suspenseful, solemn orchestral piece… with distant airhorns! “21st Century Man” gets a heavy as fuck, sludgy, noisy mix by the almighty Godflesh. Easily the highlight of the disc for me. “Space Junk (Reverend And The Makers Remix)” is straight up DMZ-style dubstep with melodica. Keith Leven’s take on “Space Junk” is a spacey, drummy, exploratory instrumental. Youth’s mix of “Hail to the Lovers” is kind of a Balearic dub track, with big echoey drums and crazy echo effects, occasionally flaring up into drum’n’bass-like rhythms. “5776 (The Breathing Song) (Die Fliedermaus Remix)” is a slow, sax-heavy version of a song about how all the stars you see shining in the night sky have probably died millions of years ago. The other take on “Space Junk” is a slow, kinda rusty mix by Mark Stewart. “In the Graveyard” gets a heavy dub mix by Carter Tutti (aka Chris & Cosey). “Magic Eye (To See The Sky)” is remixed by Iranian band Barfak, and it blends Arabic instruments and vocals with sparse downtempo beats and vocoders. Therapy?’s mix of “Hail to the Lovers” is slow and kinda stompy, and the vocals and guitars eventually get shattered and erode away at the end. The last tracks are slower and more sloth-like (and “The Hum Of The Universe (Alexander Hacke Remix)” ends with a mantra).

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