Tuesday 2 January 2024

Massa Nera - D//Q//B[2.0]

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 02 Dec 2023


1. An Endless Cycle // I Was More Than The Weight Of My Work (Amy Christine Remix)

2. Hipocrita (Seaphoamm Remix)

3. Lost Faces (Yearswallower Remix)

4. Adrift (Uninerve Remix)

5. Shapeshift (Kuuma Remix)

6. April 7th (Fainting Couch Remix)

7. A Faint Goodbye (Andrew Noseworthy Remix)

8. Tristeza Consume (Lowering The Blinds) (Afk Remix)

9. Eyeless Faces (Clwdrobe remix) (Prod. by Yajirobe & Clwdwlkr)

10. Wanting (Ghosts Haunting Ghosts) (Planning For Burial Remix)

11. You Mean So Much More Than Misery To Me (Phong Tran Remix)

12. Anchored (Manikineter Remix)

A calendar year to the month since the release of their most recent album Derramar | Querer | Borrar, Massa Nera went and released a remix album. An album full of collaborations with artists from different corners of the musical landscape. The last remix album I paid attention to was Linking Park's Reanimation (I think I'm showing my age there a bit). This is a little outside of my wheelhouse in terms of the blog but I do love Massa Nera and this is all in preparation for 2024, which is already promising to be their year.

I literally don’t know where to start with this (musically). Opener ‘An Endless Cycle // I Was More Than The Weight Of My Work’ (remixed by Amy Christine) is shortened compared to the original. It’s also very haunting in parts, much like the computer game Silent Hill was back in the day. The song’s mid-section is filled with noise, eschewing the earlier ambience before that same noise fades later on, allowing for a retreat into calmer pastures albeit briefly.

‘Hipocrita’ sees Massa Nera joined by Seaphoamm, providing a mix of keys and techno/drum n bass that helps to reimagine a screamo song in a very different way. It’s upbeat in a way I hadn’t thought possible and given that I find screamo to be upbeat and cathartic, it hits the spot during it’s short playing time. ‘Lost Faces’ is equally as short but the freakishly harsh take delivered by Yearswallower work’s on many levels, pushing Massa Nera’s vocal approach to greater heights.

Allowing more space and time, Uninerve’s remix of ‘Adrift’ is an instrumental masterpiece coupling both Massa Nera’s guitar work and percussion with subtle beats. So chilled. Here’s hoping this album gets a vinyl pressing in the future. Going from spaced-out chill to the intense dance/break-beat of Kuuma’s ‘Shapeshift’ remix jump starts the heart. Seven+ minutes is a long time to sustain such intensity so the addition of more harsh vocals and rhythmic changes work really well. I’m loving this so far!

Fainting Couch goes a step further with a trap/hip-hop laden take on ‘April 7th’. It’s not your traditional take on trip/hip-hop but it works perfectly when set against Massa Nera’s heavier edge. It’s pretty damn infectious to be honest. ‘A Faint Goodbye’ benefits from a remix curated by Andrew Noseworthy and while you might be expecting a song filled with electronic beats and such, you’re actually greeted with ambience and subtlety, coupled with Massa Nera’s harsh vocals. It’s re-imagined in such a way that it’s impossible lo skip.

Afk’s remix of ’Tristeza Consume (Lowering the Blinds)’ is another drum n bass piece coupled with what could be described as dub-step with techno woven into it. I’ll be honest here and say that my descriptors are probably a little off. Either way, this song is still worth diving in to. I’m not the biggest fan of mumble-rap, which is the vibe I get when listening to ‘Eyeless Faces’ (remixed and produced by clwdrobe, yajirobe and clwdwlkr). With that being said, I do appreciate well-produced music snd this is exactly that. The gentle ambience of ‘Wanting (Ghosts Haunting Ghosts)’ featuring Planning For Burial was not what I expected given the pedigree of both bands but allowing the song to take hold at a higher volume makes it a joy to listen to.

Phong Tran’s electronic remodelling of ‘You Mean So Much More Than Misery To Me’ is at the other end of the spectrum initially before Massa Nera’s heavy screamo takes over. It provides the perfect backdrop to the album’s closer ‘Anchored’, remixed this time by Manikineter, whose electronic/break-beat/hp-hop style works really well alongside Massa Nera’s harsher delivery.

I thought (and already eluded to the fact) that this album would be outside of my wheelhouse before I listened to it, but I’m open enough to say that it surprised me more than I expected. Massa Nera has been more than an inspiration for me of late and their willingness to experiment on this release shows how much they’re willing to push themselves as a band. I know there’s more to come, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

You can stream and download this album (name-your-price) below:

Massa Nera - https://www.facebook.com/MASSANERANJ

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