Remember Remember - The Quickening (4 stars)

A shimmering and optimistic tour de force from Scottish composer and pop genius

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Remember Remember - The Quickening

(Rock Action)

Once upon a time there was a super electro-prog combo called Multiplies. They came from Glasgow, made like rock miscreants and then they were gone, leaving memories of marvellous live shows and the sense they were always too good to be true.

Perhaps Multiplies foundered under the weight of their collective pop genius – certainly, their separate parts diverted into many great forces. Brawl-pop posse Dananananaykroyd was one, and art-punk brats The Royal We another. But most curious of all – and most redolent of Multiplies’ epic wig-outs – was Graeme Ronald’s instrumental endeavour, Remember Remember.

Ronald always stood out in Multiplies: stripy jumpers, thick-rimmed glasses, exuding the inner cool of a young man at one with minimalism, neo-classicism, krautrock, metal and – may we love him forever – prog. He remains a singular figure in Scottish music – a composer and pop genius both – and he remains true to those bygone aural touchstones on his second album, The Quickening.

Citing the divergent likes of Debussy, Bulgakov and Faust as inspirations, and touching on Arabic pop, Egyptian surf and pagan waltzes, The Quickening sees Ronald supported by the same six-piece that joined him on last year’s stirring ‘RR Scorpii’ EP, and further embellished by a string quartet and the quicksilver Spanish guitar thrills of RM Hubbert.

Ronald’s aural vistas are complex, progressive and always compelling – from the beat-heavy gyspy-folk of ‘Hey Zeus’ through the tropical electro-wooze of ‘John Candy’ to the haunting melancholy of ‘Scottish Widows’. The result is a shimmering and optimistic tour de force.

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REMEMBER REMEMBER - Scottish Widows

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