After more than a decade of silence – no gigs, no music, no nothing – Gramme return with their debut album Fascination. The cult around the band and their lone release, the Pre-Release EP, continued to grow until in 2011 some mysterious 12" bootlegs of Like U began to appear, with edits by Joe Goddard of Hot Chip. A few months later self released white labels begin to circulate with new Gramme material. Those recent EP's have gone on to form Fascination, the first full studio album by Gramme.
Gramme is the musically pioneering band that went missing in action sometime around 2000. Originally signed to Trevor Jackson's Output label, the band emerged in the mid-nineties with a sound so out of step with the cultural milieu they found themselves swimming against the tide.
Originally a five piece, the band formed around a shared love of the emotional melancholy now synonymous with Factory artists such as Joy Division, Section 25 and A Certain Ratio. Gramme were attracted by Manchester's psycho disco of the early 80's and NY's subterranean proto punk-funk on 99 Records and bands like Liquid Liquid and ESG. The die was cast when, following a particularly intense Camden gig in 1996, the legendary DJ Nathan Gregory said the immortal words “ I love your band, but I dunno whether to dance or pogo?!”. The individuality of Gramme around ‘97 remains their lasting signature.
The band recorded the seminal Pre-Release EP in 1997 but it was not released until 1999. The EP was produced by Trevor Jackson and was made in hours rather than days, accurately documenting the fever and sweat of those early sessions at Blackwing Studios in London. It was a cult hit and featured the track Like U which went on to be a favourite amongst those in know, including Hot Chip who included the track on their DJ Kicks compilation from 2007. Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy have also acknowledged the influence of the EP on the early DFA sound.
Despite being signed and then dropped by their new label (Junior Boys Own) in 2001 and suffering from exhaustion caused by their punishing schedule, the band stayed together for a further year. The usual band disagreements and distrusts grew through the cracks and the project finally imploded sometime around January 2002. The wilderness years make sense now and where it was clear to some outside the band that they had stumbled across something extremely special, the band were lost in the deep woods of their own creativity.
Gramme 2012, now a streamlined four piece but equally as passionate and excited by the possibilities of their own music making. With three new 4 track E.P.s already on the shelves this year, reportedly selling out before the dust had time to settle. The next step is a 12 track long player scheduled for release in February on Tim ‘Love’ Lee's Tummy Touch Records. The album represents about two and a half years of sporadic but intense writing, jamming, recording and editing and at least three complete fresh starts. The aim was finally to create something immediate and in the present but something that would also stand the test of time. It needed to work in the club, the car and the kitchen simultaneously.
Published: 4th April 2013