Saturday, June 18, 2011

Low- Things We Lost in the Fire (2001) MP3 & FLAC

"I don't need a laser beam. I don't need the time. Leave me in the car tonight; 
rest your drunken mind."

Formed in Duluth, Minnesota in the early nineties, Low embody the essence of the Slowcore genre: minimalist arrangements, glacial tempos, and fragile, achingly beautiful vocals. On second thought, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Low embody everything so-called Slowcore bands wish they could be. Taken as a whole, Low's considerable discography (they've been issuing records for 17 years now) can seem a little samey, but with proper care and attention, each album reveals a subtly different personality while not straying far from what makes this band so special. And what makes Low special is their masterful use of space as an additional element in the song arrangements and Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's breathtaking vocal harmonies, which often manage to convey by turns (and sometimes simultaneously) an icy despair and an epic warmth that make the songs sound timeless in the way certain old folk songs do. Things We Lost in the Fire is considered by many to be Low's masterpiece because it marks a juncture in their discography where they began to occasionally experiment with different rhythms and a slightly harder sound, the latter being something that would become a little more prominent on future albums. In many ways, lead track "Sunflower" is a quintessential Low song, as it combines darkly-themed lyrics (a tale of murder) with a beautiful minimalist melody that creeps out of the arrangement like a ghost, and then is chased out into the open by Sparhawk and Parker's sweetly melancholic harmonies. In contrast, "Dinosaur Act" introduces a harder edge to Low's sonic palette while still retaining their trademark tempo. Perhaps the most impressive song on Things We Lost in the Fire is one of the most minimally arranged, "Laser Beam." Comprised of little more than Sparhawk's arpeggios and Parker's stunning solo vocal performance, this song exemplifies what sets Low apart from the Slowcore pack: they use the spaciousness and the simplicity of the music to give voice to the silences, thus breathing a sense of emotional authenticity into the recording that would have been lost through a more conventional approach such as drenching the song in pathos-drenched strings. Truly, there is no band better at creating epic emotions out of slightly skewed simplicity.

Things We Lost in the Fire
 1. Sunflower  (4:39)
 2. Whitetail  (5:03)
 3. Dinosaur Act  (4:13)
 4. Medicine Magazines  (4:33)
 5. Laser Beam  (2:54)
 6. July  (5:35)
 7. Embrace  (5:37)
 8. Whore  (4:23)
 9. Kind of Girl  (3:30)
10. Like a Forest  (2:27)
11. Closer  (5:06)
12. Untitled  (0:49)
13. In Metal  (4:19)


  1. This is a magical record — the first Low album I listened to, and still my favorite. ("Secret Name" and "The Curtain Hits the Cast" are close.) voixautre, you probably know this, but Low released a free live EP last winter that includes beautiful choir-augmented takes of "Laser Beam" and "July." link

  2. Christopher, thank you for the comment. In addition to this one, "The Curtain Hits the Cast" is my favorite Low album. I actually didn't know about the live EP, thank you for the link!

  3. Great band and album. Highly recommended headphone album late in the day....

  4. Thanks also for this, voixautre ... just perfect right now ...

  5. You have captured in words glimpses of what i have felt upon listening to this album. One of my favorites. Beautifully articulated. The images of "icy despair," and "epic warmth" are particularly striking and accurate.


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