Live review: Remember Remember at Stereo, 24/9/11

Remember Remember fill the spaces of Stereo with spiralling sounds. The seven-piece arch, circling closely around lynchpin and driving force Graeme Ronald and bring a warmth and outright affecting brand of expansive instrumental style.

The crowd is made up of many loyal supporters who, in the main, have been following RR through various incarnations. This sense of enthusiasm is refreshing, showing how those followers are encouraged by the progressive momentum that the performers ride. This current format seems to work extremely well offering big, bold sounds with the emotional engagement that can often be lacking in expressions of this type of music.

Sonically it is interesting to hear woodwind melody lines driving the top-end sounds. In essence a journey through the inventiveness of Ronald, who brings his experimental ideas to bear with the accompaniment and assistance of some great musicians, themselves adding body and depth to these creations. Tempered and managed series of outpourings can often be difficult to balance dynamically, but the scope of the sound gives a safe space in which to broaden out specific aspects of the whole.

The backline of drums and bass is more than exhilarating when let off the leash and in conversation with Ronald I try to glean how much emphasis is placed on holding back this powerful aspect. He expresses his desire not to overuse such a physically impactful part of the music at the possible cost of other more nuanced aspects of the sound.

When working to crescendo at the end of the gig it is easy to see that a very heavy bass should be treated with a lightness of touch as with the more intense and upbeat drumming work. I am personally desirous of very heavy aspects in performances such as this, so for me the backline could be given freer rein throughout, but this does have consequences for balance.

Loud/quiet dynamics can be less relevant in instrumental performance than they are with lyrically driven verse chorus verse structures in noise and post-punk, but it is key to understand the impact of levels throughout a performance, viewing the complete set as a whole. It is pleasing to see RR paying attention to this along with investigating tangential melody and rhythmic possibilities. The latter evidenced through cyclical lead-guitar and piano work.

Those present are captivated by sound, which can often play a lesser role than other aesthetic aspects in live performance. Full sonic immersion is always rewarding.

This performance breeds excitement for the release of next album ‘The Quickening’ which promises to play more on mediated self-expression through sound than on the use of divergent and unexpected instrumentation, as heard on RR’s excellent, self-titled debut.

Words: Joe Leightley

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