Artists of the week: Low
Duluth, Minnesota, indie rock trio Low are one of the most idiosyncratic and resilient acts in the history of North American popular music. Gravitating around the husband-and-wife team of guitarist Alan Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker (plus a rotating third element on bass), the band have been releasing a mesmerizing collection of 13 albums in the last 22 years that goes way beyond the “slowcore” tag. Though their music can be characterized by the preeminence of slow tempos, minimalist arrangements, deeply evocative vocal harmonies and spiritual lyrics that occasionally showcases their Mormon faith, the truth is that their sound is also prone to evolution and experimentation. From the pristine sound of their debut I Could Live In Hope (1993) and the ambient tones of The Curtain Hits The Cast (1996) to the heavy distortion of The Great Destroyer (2005) and the electronic landscapes of Drums and Guns (2007), Low’s discography is no short of surprises and excitements, thanks to their alluring songwriting and their open-minded collaboration with a first-rate list of producers (Kramer, Steve Fisk, Dave Fridman and Jeff Tweedy, just to name a few).
Coming in the aftermath of what is arguably their two most warm and shiny records to date (2011’s C’mon and 2013’s The Invisible Way), their new album Ones and Sixes is an inspired incursion towards grief and anxiety that mixes a stark, cold sound with haunting electronic landscapes. A perfect companion for the long Winter nights coming ahead.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.