raig Tattersall and Andrew Johnson, formerly of the group Hood, decided to make a go of it with a more electronically based project under the moniker of The Remote Viewer. Since their break with the band, due to the fact that they both lived far away from the band’s Leeds headquarters, the duo has released a number of 7”’s and EP’s, as well as recording a session with John Peel. Why the notoriety and accolades? Most of this has to do with their past. As members of Hood, Tattersall and Johnson helped contribute to some of the most interesting lo-fi biss pop to emerge out of England at this time. While Hood is currently doing the best work in their careers without their help, it would certainly be impossible for Hood to have gotten as far as it did without them. The other reason that bodes well for their musical output and its reception is the sort of electronic music that they are making. Yes, as you may have guessed from the label that they are on, The Remote Viewer is a run of the mill rendition of the kitschtronica set- a group of musicians that use sounds that evoke childhood and innocence to convey their message.
The first track of the CD lays out the groundplan for the rest of the album quite nicely. A simple chord is played while a stuttering drum track beneath shimmers along with a tiny underlying melody that adds a slight punch to the track. The introduction is ended when the chord that has been played is played with the beat stuttering along with it and the underlying melody becomes a bit stronger into the mix. Over time a new melodic figure emerges playing counterpoint to the original piece. It’s all very nice, but it’s all been done before by numerous City Centre Office and Morr Music artists.
The highlight here is “Snow It Falls On”, which features a female and male vocalist. A simple guitar sample is repeated over and over, matched with the male and female intoning the song title. Despite having little to no melodic development over the entire track, the song has an eerie emotional impact which is probably due to the fact that there seems to be no set beginning or end to the track. It simply fades in and has a short ending that finishes the song abruptly and disconcertingly.
While Manual introduces a shoegazing element into his compositions and E-vax brings an interesting pop tinge to his compositions, The Remote Viewer have neither. In fact, it is as though the group has stripped the genre of any interesting innovative characteristics and is doing kitchtronica by the numbers. While this would be of interest by itself, as said before there are a number of different artists doing the same sort of compositions and following the same sort of aesthetic. The Remote Viewer brings nothing new to the genre, but follows its conventions well and has released a quality, yet derivative debut full length.