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Alternative & Indie - Released March 19, 2013 | Sub Pop Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Astralwerks

Like so many of their contemporaries, Low are repeatedly lumped into numerous derivative and nondescript headings intended to encompass slow-paced, instrument-driven music that maintains an indie aesthetic. Quite simply, no category can truly reveal the beauty and glory of Low's debut record I Could Live in Hope. Sad core? Not even close! I Could Live in Hope is an incredibly joyous journey of spirit and songwriting sensibility. The record remains patient and sparse throughout (just guitar, bass, high hat, and snare, and angelic vocals by the husband and wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker), but succeeds beautifully. Low truly behold the gift of understatement. Working with long-time producer and New York underground mainstay Kramer, Low examine their own fears and haunting experiences, occasionally linking them with Biblical references, while consoling listeners with warm layers of ethereal vocals and waves of guitar reverberation. Tracks are simple one-word titles but that's all that they require -- too much information would spoil the record's elegance. And that's probably why they open the record with "Words," a song about the overuse and misuse of language, that sets the tone for the entire album, right up to their plaintive and passionate cover of "You Are My Sunshine." Every small nuance of production is evident -- Sparhawk's fingers not quite connecting on a chord change or sliding over a fret and echoing infinitely -- making I Could Live in Hope a true testament to both Low and Kramer's penchant for capturing the lushest of soundscapes. ~ Ken Taylor
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 21, 2001 | In The Fishtank

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2018 | Sub Pop Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Astralwerks

With the molasses-slow ringing of the opening chords of "Violence," Low arrived. The Duluth, Minnesota band had formed two years earlier in 1993, and issued its quietly joyful debut, I Could Live in Hope, in the interim, but sophomore record Long Division saw the band stripping down its already unprecedentedly spare instrumentation to create an atmosphere so lonely, patient, and narcotic that the album created the sensation of being awake in a sad-hearted dream. On their debut, Low's sound was informed by their minimal instrumentation, with guitar, high-register bass notes, and a two-piece drum kit providing the backdrop for Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's angelic harmonies and Kramer's spacious production. The songs on Long Division take that minimalism even further, slowing the tempos and implementing so much negative space that the instruments sometimes fade into complete silence in the space between sparse notes or drum hits. The otherworldly slowness of songs like "Shame" and "See-Through" are representative of the radical amount of space that defines the album, gliding gracefully as a falling leaf floating slowly on the wind. Low were born out of a reaction to the aggressive trudge of early-'90s grunge, so the songs are slow but never plodding. A song like "Turn" begins with a somewhat menacing lurch, but slowly blooms into a mysteriously hopeful climax. Contemporaries like Red House Painters and especially Codeine worked in similar muted colors and pensive tempos, but Low managed to exist outside of the often depressive themes of their peers. Practicing Mormons, Sparhawk and Parker often intoned their understated songs with vaguely religious undertones, hinting at retribution and redemption with foreboding atmospheres and heavy vibes more than overtly cautionary lyrics. The combination of Low's groundbreaking approach to elongating traditional pop music structures paired with Kramer's equally extreme reverb and Echoplex colorings congeal into one of Low's most brilliantly atmospheric statements, and perhaps the most dire in what would be a career that spanned decades. Long Division is a masterwork, somehow simultaneously achieving lushness and emptiness, embodying hope and heartbroken despair with equal force. ~ Fred Thomas
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 30, 2016 | Temporary Residence Ltd.

Described by the band as "a soundtrack to an imaginary film," Low's 2000 release The Exit Papers is a work that's unusually low key and atmospheric, even by this band's very nuanced standards. Instrumental except for some wordless vocal passages, and often working without conventional melody or structure, The Exit Papers plays like an effort to push the boundaries of Low's experimental side, and the minimal melodic frameworks drifting over beds of ambient noise certainly take their traditional slowcore approach to a patiently unrelenting conclusion. The best moments in The Exit Papers work in the way much of Low's best music, creating an emotional pull from simple but evocative elements. However, "Untitled 4," which runs nearly 15 minutes, is a collage of feedback, distortion, and other guitar-based noises that goes on far too long for its own good. Going with the album's concept, perhaps it would have made more sense accompanying some long, tense scene in an offbeat independent thriller, but all by itself it's a lulling but poorly focused noise experiment that's not especially rewarding. The Exit Papers was originally released in a limited edition of 1,000 copies, distributed as part of a subscription program by Temporary Residence Records. This sort of release makes sense for this music; The Exit Papers isn't meant for the average music fan, or even for most of Low's usual audience. This is an experimental album intended for people with a passion for ambient noise, and while Low's Secret Name and Things We Lost in the Fire were beautiful and bold in their pursuit of the elegant detail, The Exit Papers suggests these musicians wandered off the path and had a hard time making their way back. Fans may be interested in hearing this remarkable group stake out new territory, but this is far from their best work. ~ Mark Deming
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Pop - Released January 1, 1996 | Astralwerks

Duluth, Minnesota's slowcore pioneers Low had been impressing live audiences with their slow as molasses cover of Joy Division's "Transmission" well before it was released on the largely unimpressive Joy Division tribute album, A Means to an End. Not content to let their version wither, the band put together this fine EP. "Transmission" is joined by some excellent songs unavailable elsewhere, including the brief but lovely "Bright," a darker version of the band's "Caroline" (called "Caroline 2"), and a cover of Supreme Dicks' "Jack Smith." Transmission EP also marks a couple of firsts for Low. It was the first pairing of the band with producer Steve Albini, who would produce the band's best work, 1999's Secret Name. Another first was a hidden, untitled track that stretched the band into much more experimental territory that they would explore on 1997's Songs for a Dead Pilot. ~ Josh Modell
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1996 | Astralwerks

The Curtain Hits the Cast was Low's first "major" album, taking the indie buzz over their early work to a much larger audience. The band didn't lose anything in the process -- the album shows them still firmly entrenched in the epic, slow, lazy dirges that got them started. The only noticeable changes come in the form of more elaborate production and a shift in the ratio of dark, creepy dirges to pretty, comforting ones (the latter winning out, as evidenced by the album's single, the beautiful "Over the Ocean"). Low is one of those rare bands that has created such a distinct musical world for itself that even major changes can't affect it -- just like every Cocteau Twins album is unmistakably theirs, and always good, listening to any Low recording involves revisiting a wonderful sound that can't be found anywhere else. The Curtain Hits the Cast is more accessible than much of the band's earlier work, but, since it's a Low album, it isn't really that much different -- the album is probably the best introduction to Low's work. ~ Nitsuh Abebe
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Low

Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1995 | Astralwerks

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Pop - Released June 3, 2018 | iM Classic (EU)

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2018 | Sub Pop Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 1998 | Astralwerks

Owl (Low Remixes) is a compilation of other artists' remixes of the Duluth, MN. trio Low. Low is known primarily for their subtlety and ambience, and none of the eight remixes stray too far from the band's trademark sound. The songs are deconstructed and reworked by several renowned artists/DJs, such as Tranquility Bass (aka Mike Kandel), Skull Valley Dub (aka Tom Chasteen), and Jimmy Somerville/Sally Herbert (Somerville was the lead singer for '80s hitmakers Bronski Beat). The album's opener, "Down" (by Porter Ricks), may test the listener's patience, since it's nearly 15-minutes long and very minimalistic, but later remixes make up for it. "Laugh" by DJ Vadim is a definite highlight, as is the upbeat "Anon" and the moody "Do You Know How to Waltz," both remixed by Neotropic (aka Riz Maslen). Owl (Low Remixes) is definitely recommended to ambient admirers and hardcore fans of the band, but newcomers may want to start elsewhere. ~ Greg Prato
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House - Released July 19, 2004 | Buzzin' Fly

Alternative & Indie - Released August 24, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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Rap - Released October 15, 2018 | iM Dance

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House - Released March 19, 2012 | Paul's Boutique

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Pop - Released May 6, 2015 | Devaux Music

Alternative & Indie - Released August 3, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 23, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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