EP Review: Sons of Alpha Centauri – Buried Memories

Instrumental post-metal isn’t usually my bag, but in the right context (kicking back reading a book), it makes for good background noise… and I’ve discovered that Sons of Alpha Centauri are great for this kind of generating atmosphere for a good dystopian sci-fi read!

Buried Memories is a collection of remixes and (I think) original tracks, presented with the help of Justin K Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and James Plotkin (Khanata, Jodis). The first three tracks are remixes of “Hitmen”, originally from the band’s debut album – or at least “Hitman” was. I’m not sure if there’s been a change in name to reflect the remixes, or if one of them is a misprint!  The first remix (named for Broadrick) is fairly faithful to the original only with a long introduction. Other than that it feels more like a remaster than a remix, cleaning up the sound from the 2009 release and making things sound a little less rough.

The “Jesu Remix” version is more ethereal (and runs to 9 minutes) while the “JK Flesh Remix” goes more for haunting echoes. It’s impressive to realise that all three were done by the same person, yet have distinct styles of their own.

The three other tracks have been mixed by Plotkin and include “Warhero”, “Remembrance” (both of which I can’t find earlier versions of) and “SS Montgomery” (originally on that first album again). “Warhero” is nine minutes of at-first laid back acoustic-based instrumental rock with a prog tinge. Around the halfway point, though, it changes and courtesy of some snare drum work comes across more militaristic. As the full electrics and low-end guitars crash down, things change tone again. I’d be interested to know is there’s a story arc to go behind this song.

“Remembrance” is by far the shortest track on here, at under two minutes, and it’s dark and heavy. It really stands out from the others due to its slow pace, industrial effects and gloomy overtones. “SS Montgomery” is unusual for a remix in that it’s shorter (by a minute) than the original. It keeps the main musical body of the 2009 version, but adds a lot of effects that I’m not sure are necessary. However, I guess it’s all about context and what the listener pictures in their heads – this is instrumental and atmospheric, after all. The overwhelming, neighbour-annoying bass of the original has been toned down a little as well. Personally I prefer this newer version for that, though those who prefer their brains turned to mush by the lower frequencies may have a different opinion.

An interesting collection, and one that I’m sure fans will lap up especially given the plethora of lovely vinyl versions available.

Buried Memories is out now

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