Meg Remy: Exploration & Fog

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“…her work is all her own; a vicious, unforgiving, and ethereal portrait of human fragility and power.”

Meg Remy’s swelling vocals pack an enigmatic and transcendent lilt. They are clean, powerful, and contain an intangible prescience that few, if any, modern artists have. It’s difficult to imagine that the Toronto-based singer isn’t aware of her own voice’s incorporeal uniqueness, one that melts like gallium in the heat of her records’ warm production. Between the flickering wick of mysteriousness on her pulpy, smoke-filled “Window Shades” (think Goldfrapp as directed by the late Werner Rainer Fassbinder) to the possessed, embittered battle cries of “Damn That Valley“, Remy is dancing, somewhat intrinsically, between time slips. And the fact that she is a dichotomy of funhouse mirrors and direct, unbridled pop makes her aesthetic that much more staggering. With 2015’s LP, ‘Half Free’, Remy loses herself in monochrome legkicks, swirling confusion, cold defiance, and, most impressively, a myriad of styles. U.S. Girls is therapy in the form of abstract elusiveness. There’s no easy answer in Remy’s work, no accessible comfort or emotionally linear narratives. For the past eight years, U.S. Girls has been creating a psychological rip current in the form of electronic pop.

In interviews, Remy’s uncompromising approach, fearless views, and searing social commentary has left polarizing fingerprints. When Cam Lindsay of Noisy asked if Beyonce and Miley Cyrus were opening doors in relation to feminist dialogue, the artist answered somewhat unexpectedly. “No,” Remy responded, “because they’re still airbrushing themselves on the covers of their records.” She expounded further. “Erasing pores is anti-woman, anti-human, anti-feminist, anti-everything. I think it’s just a fashionable term and it’s being used for capitalist purposes.” This is a musician that, intellectually, isn’t satiated or swayed by public or popular opinion – and whether you agree with her comments or not, Remy’s emotional sincerity, in all of its divisive candidness, is a necessary quality for someone that creates genuine and progressive art. There is nothing false here.

U.S. Girls succeeds, more than most every other musical project, because of its curiosity, cultural transcendence, and cold indifference to popular tropes. Remy’s extraterrestrial reinterpretations of history – check out the melodic discord of “Slim Baby”, a song whose aching pirouette feels of Marc Bolan’s T. Rex – elevate her material to an uncanny valley. You can catch glimpses of Krzysztof Penderecki, Cat Power, and even Siouxsie and the Banshees. But her work is all her own; a vicious, unforgiving, and ethereal portrait of human fragility and power. Remy is everything that a musician should be in both dominance and curiosity. In a musical climate that could be considered wet pate, this Illinois-born artist is one of the most exhilarating and rare voices of our generation. Someone that is quietly re-configuring the texture of culture, both in America and abroad.

Thank God for Meg Remy.

 

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Author: Rob Patrick

A member of the San Diego Film Critics Society, Rob created Cinema Spartan after he stepped down as the editor of a weekly. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. He has also introduced films with the Pacific Arts Movement. He co-owns two dire wolves, Buckley and Ruffin. At any given time, he can tell you superfluous hockey statistics. He is the chancellor of Tapatio, an advocate of iced tea, and an owner of at least 70 pairs of Vans.

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