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Majeure: “Teleforce”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/02_Teleforce.mp3|titles=Majeure: “Teleforce”]
Majeuere is the side project of A.E. Paterra, drummer and one half of Pittsburgh-based electronic prog-rock duo Zombi. Much like the Lovelock moniker of bandmate Steve Moore, Majeure doesn’t stray too far from Zombi’s glimmering, cinematic, sci-fi synths, stabbing analog Moog lines, and minimalist Krautrock grooves. But for Paterra’s debut release, Timespan, the drummer brings a whole new meaning to the long player. The album is a grand, three-track journey through the nebulous ocean of space — an ambient and energetic sci-fi rock record in a musical universe where the Solaris and Bladerunner soundtracks merge into one.
Temporary Residence recently re-released the record — which became available in October of 2009 exclusively in a double-vinyl package — in a new, deluxe double-CD format. The re-release contains remixes of the entire album from Steve Moore and Justin K. Broadrick as well as a chilled-out, almost 20-minute remix of “The Dresden Codex” by Black Strobe.
Listening to Timespan feels like floating in space, with Paterra’s live drumming providing a loosely stabilizing tether. Each song has a tendency to fade into itself. The title track itself takes a good four minutes of atmospheric moon dusting until the relentless synth appears. But when it does, it’s a scenic ride through post-apocalyptic ’80s futurism. “Timespan” is evocative in its analog-synth layering and ability to start before it ends, and Paterra keeps the music moving even though he’s slowed everything down half-speed.
“The Dresden Codex” works in the same manner. All of the arpeggiated synth and laser-beam-like synth action seems like it could get old really fast, but Majeure champions a “slow and steady wins the race” attitude, and for those patient enough, a deeply grooved electronic soundscape is the reward. When the track begins to swell, it swells tenfold. Paterra unleashes some stiff, rocking drum fills while different synth textures and sounds fly from every direction.
But for those who have already listened to the album, it’s all about those remixes. Moore cuts down the title track to just under seven minutes. It’s a dreadful and haunting kind of introduction, taking the track’s darker moments and condensing them onto one layer to transform the song into a good fit for an ’80s horror flick. Jesu brainchild Broadrick takes care of the “Teleforce” remix, seemingly stretching out the synth lines vertically rather than horizontally. The result is vertiginous; it’s as dizzying as it is mystifying. By mid-remix, the vertigo takes a back seat to a deep bass and industrial snare kit, and everything slowly trails off into a dark abyss.
The three original compositions found on Timespan are epic in scope and stunning in technicality. The supplementary remixes are equal in depth and profundity. In a genre where technological possibilities are endless, Majeure’s minimalist take is refreshing. Though sci-fi ’70s and ’80s-laden terminology is best used to describe Majeure’s musical vision, this might very well be one of the future tangents that electro-rock music is destined to be.