The Mnemonists


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The body of work of Mnemonists is being reissued at a crawl. Years after ReR Megacorp's remastering of the seminal LP Horde, here comes another fascinating artifact of post-industrial sound art. Gyromancy was recorded in the summer of 1983 by a lineup consisting of Amy and Mark Derbyshire, Karen Nakai, Mark Piersel, Steve Scholbe, and WiIliam Sharp. It came out in 1984. To the two original side-long title tracks, the 2004 ReR CD reissue adds two shorter pieces recorded shortly after the Gyromancy sessions and originally released on promotional singles and the RR/Re 7th Anniversary 7" box set. While Horde was a heavily mutated form of industrial music, Gyromancy takes a much darker and ambient form. Its amazing features are less in your face and require deeper listening. The first 20-minute piece is overall more energetic than the second, but both share the same soundworld: echoing screechy lead melodies heavily processed and phased, rumbling thuds and clunks that could be of a metallic or watery nature (also heavily processed), and otherworldly loops. Several acoustic instruments are involved, from piano to cello, sitar, bagpipes and crumhorn -- with a clear preference for nasal, whining sounds -- but their input is mutated beyond recognition, expect for a double bass passage in "Gyromancy B." The resulting music is captivating, the mind being constantly solicited to decipher the sounds while trying to recognize their sources, while the soul is raptured by the climate and the progressions. The remastering job allows for a wide range of dynamics and a sound quality that is antithetical to the lo-fi esthetics that countless followers of Mnemonists have mostly adopted. The 12-page booklet is fully illustrated by the visual arts arm of the collective.

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