Low PhotoFormed in Duluth, Minnesota in 1994, Low was perhaps the slowest of the so-called "slowcore" bands - delicate, austere, and hypnotic, the trio's music rarely rose above a whisper, divining its dramatic tension in the unsettling open spaces created by the absence of sound. Initially comprising the husband and wife team of guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk and drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker along with bassist John Nichols, Low began as an experimental reaction to the predominance of grunge; Shimmy Disc producer Kramer soon invited the group to record at his Noise N.J. studios, and the resulting demos earned them a deal with the Vernon Yard label.

After re-entering the studio with Kramer, Low emerged with their 1994 debut I Could Live in Hope, a beautiful set spotlighting the trio's hauntingly minimal aesthetic - even Parker's drum set consisted only of a snare and a hi-hat. Nichols exited the group prior to 1995's lovely Long Division, recorded with new bassist Zak Sally; a subsequent appearance on the Joy Division tribute A Means to an End was later expanded into the following year's Transmission EP, a five-track set also featuring a rendition of the Supreme Dicks' "Jack Smith." With new producer Steve Fisk, Low returned later in 1996 with The Curtain Hits the Cast.

The Songs for a Dead Pilot EP followed in 1997 and marked their debut for Kranky, where they released such critically-acclaimed albums as 1999's Secret Name and 2001's Things We Lost in the Fire. The late '90s also saw them issue Owl (Low Remixes) and the Christmas mini-album, which featured a cover of "Little Drummer Boy" that became a minor hit when it was featured in the Gap's holiday season commercials in 2000. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide