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Iceland pop experimentalists Múm were formed by Gunnar Örn Tynes, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, and classically trained twin sisters Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir. Formed in 1997, the group met while working on a children's play. Smárason found his perception of music changed through hearing Aphex Twin and decided that he would abandon the guitar-based concepts of his prior bands. This was fine and dandy with his bandmates. Following a number of singles and remixes, the full-length Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK was released in 2000 through TMT/Thule in Iceland and Tugboat in the U.K. Each of the band's four members was in their late teens when the record was released, hailed for its playful and imaginative use of all things musical and not so musical. 2001 saw the release of Please Smile My Noise Bleed on Morr Music, a compilation of remixes from the likes of isan and Arovane. A second full-length, Finally We Are No One, was released the following year on Fat Cat. Gyða left the band to focus on her studies before Múm's third album, Summer Make Good, arrived in spring 2004; the band rounded out the year with the Dusk Log EP. The next two years found Múm on the road. In 2005, the group collaborated with the National Dutch Chamber Orchestra at Amsterdam's Holland Festival on a piece inspired by the works of composer Iannis Xenakis. Múm returned to the studio the following year, and in the interim released a live album, The Peel Session, which was originally recorded in 2002 by the BBC. For 2007's Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, the band was down to founding members Tynes and Smárason, who enlisted the help of guitarist/vocalist/violinist Ólöf Arnalds, trumpet/keyboard player Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson, vocalist/cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, percussionist Samuli Kosminen, and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mr. Silla. The group recorded their fifth album, 2009's Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know, in Finland and Estonia as well as their native Iceland. Fans had to wait four more years for another new studio album from the band, although they weren't entirely bereft of new product, as a Christmas EP, Gleðileg Jól, was released in 2011, and a compilation of early tracks in 2012 entitled Early Birds. Early in 2013, a track entitled "Whistle" emerged -- a surprise collaboration with none other than Kylie Minogue. That September, Múm released their sixth album, Smilewound, which featured the Kylie track and marked the return to the group of Gyða Valtýsdóttir for the first time in ten years.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo


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