The Jumbled Production of “I Remember” Shows a New Path for AlunaGeorge
The sound of electronic duo AlunaGeorge (made up of Aluna Francis and George Reid) is built on experimental ideas with R&B underpinnings. On their debut album, soothing medleys and layered compositions carry an immediate vibrancy, and this is the template they seek to expand on with their new song “I Remember,” albeit the production goals seemingly lie farther out.
The collaboration with electronic producer, Flume (aka Harley Edward Streten), pairs Aluna’s wispy vocals with a calm, chill-out backdrop featuring jumbled voice clips (“ah yeah,” “oh,” “thief,” “I-iii-ii”) and intermittent echoes. The song’s initial lull has the production taking a heavy yet muted presence, but this breaks at the first chorus with stuttering keyboards that give way to a beating bass. These fluctuations give “I Remember” an unusual energy, distanced from the immediacy seen in AlunaGeorge’s past work.
These fluctuations give “I Remember” an unusual energy, distanced from the immediacy seen in AlunaGeorge’s past work.
The plainly-stated message on reminiscing about the past (“it’s how it sounds,” according to Aluna) establishes that “I Remember” is not a far cry from the duo’s norm, where subtle touches grow out of an absence of highbrow wit. Here, this similarity takes the form of parallelism: “Tiny love left unsaid/ Like grains of sand left in my bed” in the first verse, “Tiny love will attack/ As it gets bigger behind your back” in the second. It’s also evident with key lyric “The moment that I see your face,” where the “but” that should appear at the beginning goes unstated but is still sensed like a hanging variable. Where the song opposes their usual standard is in the lyrically quiet bridge, the reservation towards attractive hooks, and George’s unclear contributions on the production (due to the Flume feature).
Intriguing music videos often accompany the group’s songs, and the same is true with the one for “I Remember,” told through chopped footage filmed in a single take from a fixed viewpoint. Up to the end of the first chorus, Aluna casually jumps about an open apartment before falling asleep, but during the second verse, Aluna’s boyfriend is seen in the same space leisurely spending time with her. By the video’s conclusion, steady cuts between the two “realities” relay her state of reflection and strong wish to relive the past.
George normally is a key character in the storytelling of their videos, but he’s completely unseen here — unless he’s the neon flamingo, as some have conjectured. It reflects a different era for the group rather than a continuation, as George is retreating to a background role for unknown reasons. Hopefully it won’t dilute their sound when the new album releases in September.