Low - review of One More Reason To Forget and owL
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Low, One More Reason To Forget [Bluesanct]
owL remix [Vernon Yard]

from Ink Nineteen, November 1998.

Low is known for their slow, quiet, spacious songs where a few distant notes paced by brushed snare and ride are responsible for worlds of rich atmosphere and texture. Time is manipulated and space is a paintbrush. What started as an experiment to see how slow they could play has become a long-running exercise in brilliance. That said, this is a strange pairing of albums.

As wonderful as Low's songs are, the recorded versions can never compare to the live ones. Live, their mood is amplified a thousandfold, creating another world. The energy is almost palpable. The world seems to stand still, everything moving in some bizarre sort of slow motion. They send shivers. Watching them has brought tears to my eyes. Prayers must have been heard as here is a live recording of a show that took place at the Church of St. Philip Neri in Louisville, KY on November 6, 1997. The recording is beautiful, and much of the live energy remains intact. This is not to be missed. It is limited, and is available exclusively through mailorder for $12. It also includes a song from their Christmas single.

Owl Remix finds Low's lessons in spatial theory undergoing electronic treatments. I prefer the tracks that retain more of the original song's mood and structure, such as Porter Ricks' take on "Down" and Jimmy Somerville & Sally Herbert's remix of "Words." Some of the more severe revamping makes me uneasy, specifically the "'91 Party Dance Mix" by Tranquility Bass of "Over The Ocean" with its funky beat and happy, bouncy trumpet. Yikes. Neotropic's remix of "Anon" brings in fragments of that song for what seems like a completely different beast, which makes me more want to listen to the original than dig the remix.

Maybe if I had never heard Low and instead heard this fresh at a club I'd feel differently. These are supposed to be remixes, not regurgitations or slight tamperings, so I guess they serve their purpose well enough. As a Low fan, though, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it. I enjoy the tracks that seem to contain more of the original idea, but not really for the others. It's an interesting listen, though, at least. Eight tracks in all.

-- Andrew Chadwick


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