Low - review of One More Reason To Forget
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Low, One More Reason To Forget (BlueSanct Musak / INRIO40cd)

"One More Reason To Forget" was recorded during a live performance in Louisville, KY, on November 6, 1997. Clocking in at just under an hour, this CD reveals Low to be an incredible live band, but definitely an unusual one. Given Low's glacially slow music, haunting vocals, and sparse atmospheres, you wouldn't think that they could create the presence that they do. There is no banter between the band and the audience, none of the usual things you'd expect from a live album. But the fact remains that Low is incredible live, simply for the fact that their music is just as moving and haunting live as it is recorded. I would even hazard to say that Low's music isn't really experienced until you see them live. The intimate nature of their music practically begs it.

"One More Reason..." showcases Low in their native element, and features some of their most beautiful songs, and some of their most harrowing. "Be There", "Condescend", and "Landlord" are all taken from Low's latest studio recording, "Songs For A Dead Pilot", Low's most barren and emptiest recording to date. "Be There"'s dirge-like drums and church organ add to this song's alienation. On "Condescend," Low is joined with Ida Pearle's violin, adding a mournful counterpoint to Alan Sparhawk's guitar and Mimi Parker's detached vocals. The vocal harmonies of Parker and Sparhawk have always been of great delight, and it should surprise noone that they are spot on here. Their harmonies are as crisp and beautiful as always, especially on "Over The Ocean", one of the best tracks from "The Curtain Hits The Cast".

However, the pinnacle of the album is "Do You Know How To Waltz". Clocking in at slightly over 17 minutes, it is a wall-of-sound masterpiece, which must really be credited to Sparhawk and his talent as a guitarist. Putting to shame all of those space-rock and drone bands, Low conjures up a sonic wall so massive and beautiful that, until I heard the applause at the end, I forgot I was listening to a live CD.

The album closes with one of the best songs Low has ever written, "If You Were Born Today (song for little baby Jesus)". I heard them play it when I saw them live, and that single song has stuck with me since. I bet a lot of "Christian" artists would give up their Dove awards if they could write a song half as simple and moving as this piece, which looks at the life of Christ as a child and concludes "if You were born today, we'd kill You by age eight, never get the chance to say 'Joy to the world and peace on earth. Forgive them for they know not what they do.'"

This album is how Low is meant to be heard, in a live setting away from any possible studio trickery and whatnot, where the heart and intimacy of their music can truly be heard. With many live performances, it's about the "performance." With a live performance from Low, the focus remains on the music. Low doesn't need any silly banter or stage antics, because their music is strong enough to stand on its own. And that's why they are such an incredible live band. That's why they are one of the best bands on the planet.

This CD can be ordered directly from BlueSanct Musak.

Written by Jason Morehead.