Thursday, 13 January 2011

I wish I'd made this - #1 Gramarye by Remy Zero

I've never had a song burrow it's way into my subconscious in such an aggressive manner as Gramarye. Way back in 1999 I'd been watching MTV late at night and stumbled across this. 

Although I only heard the song once, I couldn't escape it and found it constantly stuck in my head.  For a short, but rather stressful period, finding a physical recording of the song became my life goal. I eventually completed my quest in Virgin in Romford and can clearly remember thrusting the CD above my head in celebratory fashion before rushing home.

For me Gramarye is the aural equivalent of a great horror movie; not the scary part where you jump and scream, but the bit before, where you know that something sinister is lurking in the dark and you try and huddle yourself into a tiny ball on your sofa.

There are two things which make this song stand out for me. First up is the dissonant piano refrain which first occurs around 28 seconds which can only be described as haunting. It shouldn't work, but it does. The second thing is the use of noise. Shimmering guitars, feedback and reverb are allowed to build up and are then abruptly cut off and it's these transitions between dirty and clean that give the track momentum, pulling the track along, and the listener with it.

After 11 years of listening to this track, I still couldn't tell you what it was about, but I don't think that's important. This song is all about mood and atmosphere and I struggle to think of any other tracks which come close in that respect.

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