Remember Remember began life as one man and a loop pedal.
Graeme JD Ronald recorded the group's early material at home, only opting to recruit some guest musicians when live shows became a necessity. Expanding to become a fully cohesive unit, the band's origins are obvious within a few seconds of new album 'The Quickening'.
The repetitive patterns betray their roots, with the essence of the loop becoming internalised in the group's songwriting. At times, this pushes Remember Remember into Krautrock territories but in reality their's is a quite unique form of minimalism.
Taking simple patterns and building into enormous sonic structures, 'The Quickening' is perhaps the band's most impressive document yet. Remember Remember are joined by numerous guests, including Glasgow songwriter RM Hubbert who adds some beautiful nylon string guitar lines.
Due to be released on September 26th, ClashMusic begged Graeme JD Ronald for a track-by-track guide. Here are the results...
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I felt guilty about having even considered allowing a song from our first album to be used in a McDonalds advert, so I had at one point planned on naming every song on this album, in the spirit of fairness, after rival burger restaurants. This is the only one that survived. Musically, it's debt to Steve Reich is pretty apparent so I wanted to combine that minimalist feel with elements of 80's soundtrack music, bringing in waves of synth arpeggios at the climax.
This is my favourite Remember Remember song. The, frankly, ridiculous melody came to me when I was half asleep. I've since realised that I pinched a bit of it, subconsciously, from a fairly famous song. Obviously I shan't be telling you what it is. I love it because it was probably the most collaborative song that we did, all I wanted was that melody to keep returning as a motif, with the sections in between an opportunity for the band to just do whatever they wanted. It's dance music for druids.
I was clearing out all of my stuff from my parent's house this year, and came across piles and piles of cassette tapes. Some copies of albums or John Peel sessions taped off the radio, but some old 4 track demos from my teens as well. This song was on there, at the time it was called "Sleeping In On The End Of The World" and it consisted of a casio keyboard, a ridiculous hip hop drum machine beat and me reciting some spoken word thoughts on the apocalypse. I tried to approach it in a slightly less embarrassing manner this time, aiming for a sort of Yann Tiersen feel, but a little more macabre.
I have no idea where this song came from. I really wanted to write a sort of Egyptian Surf guitar tune. However, when writing the melodies something really suggested strings. The strings sound amazing on their own, like an Arvo Part piece or something, so at one point we got rid of the bass and drums completely. I ended up running the strings through this tiny, cheap, phaser that I bought on tour which started to suggest a "Tomorrow Never Knows" sort of feel, which made me realise the drums had to come back. This is got to be one of the weirdest songs I've written.
This song is aimed to soundtrack the scene in The Master and Margarita where all hell breaks loose in a Russian theatre. If you listen hard, you can hear a man sized cat decapitating a person.
A Larger Demon
You know how Jim Morrison called himself "Mr Mojo Risin"? No? Good.
This is another song which owes considerable debt to one of my favourite pieces of music, "Mad Rush" by Phillip Glass. The main piano melody for this song popped into my head as I was getting the train back from ALDI with my girlfriend. I got home and sat at the computer and within 10 minutes it was all there (albeit with terrible MIDI sounds). It was a joy to flesh it out in the studio with "real" instruments. RM Hubbert was in the studio next door to us at Chem 19 and we couldn't resist asking him to come in and play on one of the songs, I'm so happy he said yes. His part was so good it ended up being a solo coda to the song, I love it.
My old flatmate had an old live recording of this song as his alarm clock when he was living in Berlin. He said it reminded him of families coming together for Christmas or how he imagined Thanksgiving to be for Americans, and John Candy. For a long time I didn't see it fitting on the album, it's just so ridiculously happy and the rest of the album is a lot darker.
James dreamed up these relative minor wurlitzer patterns and weaved them into the song. From that point on it started to make sense as they created just the right amount of tension and slight hint of melancholy into an otherwise blatantly joyous song. This is the surprise happy ending after all the misery and gloom.