Mimi Parker, the voice beyond the clouds

Before joining this magazine I played for years in a band that had among its influences, quite marked, the Low. It was a conscious decision, because there were two of us singing, female and male voices, often harmonized. Many indie folk bands around the world use the same formula, but I think no one has ever managed to touch the levels of stylistic, technical and spiritual perfection of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parkerthe couple who, in art as in life, created one of the most important bands of my life, and fortunately that of many others.

Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk, the Low

Sunday 6 November I was returning from the Milanese concert of Bon Ivernice to touch the soul and when I saw on social media that the news of the death of Mimi Parker due to ovarian cancer at 55, I lost my breathing rhythm. As if I knew some bad news from someone in the family. All Low fans already knew that the band had had to give up on the European tour of Hey What due to Mimi’s illness, including the only Italian date to C2C of Turin which is held in these days, but the hypothesis of death was so remote that it did not become real.

Low are among the inventors of slowcore, a music made of exasperating, minimal slowness, created to be played in a crooked trio in which Alan on guitar and Mimi on drums, standing, in front of a kettledrum, a snare drum and a cymbal, they managed to create a magical mixture – along with the various bass players who have alternated in the band. A group that was born from the family of Alan and Mimi, from Duluth Minnesota, a husband and wife of the Mormon faith and from their vocal harmonies that seem to have been taken directly from the pews of a church choir.

What they have always done, from very slow beginnings to wave of I Could Live in Hope And Long Division from the mid 90s to the indie folk rock period of masterpieces Secret Name, Things We Lost In The Fire And Trust up to the distortions of The Great Destroyer and the electronic noice glitch experiments of the latest albums Double Negative And Hey What, it has always been to convert us godless, practicing atheists and agnostics, to touch the sky. Not voluntarily, of course, but it is difficult to talk to a Low fan without the latter not mentioning the spirituality he is imbued with when he listens to them. There aren’t many bands that manage to give this reaction.

Alan and Mimi, always together, in life and on van tours. I have seen them live only twice, always in Bologna, in a club in 2002 and in a theater in 2013. The first time I had the opportunity to speak with them at the end of the concert and while I was there I helped them to bring the battery in the van. They are very kind, different from any other rock star, even independent ones, unique in their union inside and outside the show. I spared myself the horror of the whistles of Radiohead fans when they opened to the British giants on an Italian tour in 2003, it was not their size nor mine.

Unfortunately I have not seen recent concerts but they are one of the few bands that I continued to buy the vinyl of a poke, knowing that there would be some jewels inside. I’m talking about it in the past tense because I don’t think it’s possible for Low to exist in a combination other than Mimi and Alan, and I can’t even remotely imagine the pain of the latter after losing his wife, the mother of his children and the bandmate of Alan. a life. He, with the air of someone who knows how to tame words, yesterday wrote on social media:

“Friends, it’s hard to squeeze the universe into language and a short message but

She passed away last night, surrounded by family and love, including yours. Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is really the most important thing. “

It is difficult not to be moved by reading these words, thinking of Low’s music that will no longer be there, thinking of it as a finished thing, archived. Think of Mimi, splendid musician and singer with a voice that seemed to come beyond the clouds, which melted perfectly with that of Alan to create a different, new one, whether it was male or female, in the chaos or among the few guitar notes.

The music of Low, a secular prayer for those like me who swear when the computer is not turned on but then feel the need, when they close their eyes, to hope for some primordial force of the cosmos, which hugs you just like those songs do. Thanks for everything, just this.

The article Mimi Parker, the voice beyond the clouds by Simone Stefanini appeared on Rockit.it on 2022-11-07 15:38:00

Mimi Parker, the voice beyond the clouds