‘Beneath Black Robes’ is Silber’s offering of remixes and re-imaginings of Detroit, Michigan virtuoso Sarah June’s latest album ‘In Black Robes’ and as an added bonus the majority of these remixes come courtesy of Remora’s Brian John Mitchell and Brian McKenzie of Electric Bird Noise.
‘Brand of Bitterness (Shoegaze Mix)’ expertly combines the drones and dark ambience of Remora with June’s childlike ethereal voice (reminiscent of Katie Jane Garside) creating a dreamlike, eerie atmosphere that complements both artists without one overshadowing the other.
‘Shadows Too’ however puts a stop to all that doom and gloom nonsense from before and channels ‘Moldy Peaches’ style simplistic lyrics and guitar chords. Sure, this track was recorded for a kids TV show and its light hearted jaunt is well intentioned but for the embittered cynics such as yours truly this was a long 1:37. ‘Bluesy Melody (Ridiculous Stereo)’ provides a similar irk too though by no means an un-listenable track, merely out of place and pale in comparison to the other remixes present. ‘Stagefright’ then works perhaps as the antithesis of ‘Shadows Too’, simplistic in its composition, it none the less simmers with passion with the distorted guitars’ repetitive riffs, making this live track hypnotic and spellbinding.
‘Ghost of Chevrolet’, mixed by Brian McKenzie, by far the most surreal rendition is also perhaps the most straightforward with the majority of the work coming from slowing down the track to turn June’s usually soft effeminate voice into a deep, slow moan, while a heavy bass guitar riff oppresses the environment with its lumbering tones.
Silber would do well to keep hold of this artist, and maybe, just maybe, filter out the lighter elements as the mix of dark gloomy music and June’s voice is something pretty fresh and enthralling.