Low is a Duluth, Minnesota based trio, formed to combat the abrasiveness and boredom of the grunge movement. LONG DIVISION is the second release, and arguably the best. Describing its music is like trying to explain a David Lynch film; words fail to relay the meaning and scope of the music.
Low specialize in that style of music most often referred to as 'lo-fi', 'sad-core', and 'slo-core'. They use minimal instrumentation-a cymbal and snare drum, bass guitar, and electric guitar with a 'clean' tone. The tempos are slow. Some of the material reminds me of something that would fit nicely on Angelo Badalamenti's TWIN PEAKS or BLUE VELVET soundtracks, or perhaps some wierd mix of MASSIVE ATTACK and PORTISHEAD sans the samples and electronics-very slow, very emotional, very evokative, very simple.
LONG DIVISION is quite an album. From the opening sparse notes played on the guitar in "Violence" (using reverb to great effect I might add) the listener is beckoned to come in, to close everything else out and be immersed in the waves of slow melancholy and vocal harmony. The beautiful female vocals of "Below & Above" and the wonderful harmonies and minor chord changes of "Throw Out The Line" cement themselves in the brain. How can such 'simplistic' music have us coming back time and again? Well, sometimes simple is better I guess. "Caroline", "Alone", and "Stay" are marvelous songs as well. Listen to how the group uses quiet (near silence) on this album-it's amazing. You will even hear sparse conversation and a cough here or there from a band member.
While LONG DIVISION might not be something you'll play day in and day out, any musician can appreciate the beauty of simplicity, and I have it in my CD player for weeks at a time. A very enlightening and organic experience.