Rubber shark? Check. Sellotape dispenser? Check. Wind-up monkey? Check. Bubblewrap? Check. As far as a list of instruments used on a recording is concerned, there can be few stranger than the credits on the debut album by Graeme Ronald, aka Remember Remember.
This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen him live. Tunes are built up using self-samples – layering loop upon loop to give a big and complex sound. Often they begin with the click of a lighter or the clack of a pair of scissors and work up from there. It’s a methodology fraught with danger. A conventional musician can play a bum note and move on, but a bum note sampled keeps returning to haunt you. When it all goes according to plan, it can sound wonderful, but when it doesn’t…
Of course, in the studio, none of this matters. Mistakes can be eradicated, and the finished article probably sounds much more like it was intended to, than it often does live.
Remember Remember runs like a ten track suite, with each of the tunes seamlessly morphing into the next. At least, it does for the most part. The opening piano piece sets the scene but ends clunkily, and in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t seem particularly necessary. It’s the only real reservation about the record. From that point on, the music ebbs and flows, twists and turns, builds and falls with a series of beguiling melodies. Sometimes the tunes are mellow and low key; on other occasions (such as “Imagining Things (i)”), they swell up into a grand sound that encompasses live drums and violin. There’s none of the post-rock quiet/loud cliché, though – the music is much more subtle than that.
Some of the tracks move into serialist territory, with tight repetition a la Philip Glass or Michael Nyman, but others are looser. “Genie” comes across like Can attempting to provide a soundtrack to Trumpton. The last four tracks are probably the best. By this point, it feels like the music is flying on its own. It’s an excellent debut. Now he just needs to sort out the live shows.
1 And The Demon Said… (1:19)
2 The Dancing (5:11)
3 Genie (For Amaya) (7:01)
4 Fountain (4:17)
5 Mountain (4:12)
6 The Swimming (5:15)
7 How Did You End Up Like This? (5:33)
8 Imagining Things (i) (5:22)
9 Imagining Things (ii) (5:57)
10 Up In A Blue Light (9:10)