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Low's Alan Sparhawk Preps Solo Album 'White Roses, My God'

Low disbanded after Mimi Parker's death in 2022.

Source: Sub Pop

Low disbanded after Mimi Parker's death in 2022.

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Low, the long-running and rightfully beloved Minnesota indie-rock band centered around the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, effectively ended when Parker died of ovarian cancer in 2022.

But since late last year, Sparhawk has returned to recording new music and performing live. He's toured and released several funk-inflected songs with Derecho Rhythm Section, a new project that includes his younger son Cyrus on bass and often features his older son Hollis on backing vocals.

"It feels right to be playing this music with my son," Sparhawk said in a lovely new profile published in The New Yorker today.

In the same piece, Sparhawk also revealed that he plans to release a new solo album under his own name, entitled White Roses, My God, sometime this autumn.

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The new album reportedly came about when Sparhawk started experimenting with improvising guitar and pitch-shifted vocals over a preset synthesizer clocked to a drum machine.

"I was messing with this rigid stuff. There were moments where it would quickly become very visceral, very spontaneous," he explained. "You've created the structure for it to happen and come through you, but you’re trusting the universe about what is going to come in."

Sparhawk has debuted some of his new material during recent shows, including an opening set for Godspeed You! Black Emperor in New York earlier this year.

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Low formed in Duluth, Minnesota in 1993 and released their debut album I Could Live in Hope the following year.

Originally founded as a trio, the band played with several different bassists throughout the years. Although they experimented with different styles over time, their patient, strikingly minimalist arrangements and Sparhawk and Parker's heartrendingly beautiful vocal harmonies remained constant.

They were releasing some of their most exciting and experimental music right up until Parker died, essentially reinventing themselves as an electronic noise band to widespread critical acclaim on albums like 2018's Double Negative and 2021's Hey What.

Parker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as the band was finishing Hey What in late 2020. After multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, the cancer returned in summer 2022. Low played its last show on September 4, 2022, and Parker died just two months later. She was 55.

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The New Yorker profile published today also includes several quotes from Sparhawk and Parker's numerous collaborators and admirers.

"I probably took a lot of inspiration from Low, because my music tends to be pretty slow and drawn out,” Phoebe Bridgers said. “There’s sparsity, letting people fill in the gaps, to feel something that isn’t directly handed to them.”

Sharon Van Etten added, "They are so deceptively simple. I could feel their love and their pain."

Perfume Genius' Mike Hadreas spoke of their music's "hymnal quality," explaining, "There was a warmth to it,” he said. “But it was also really fucked up. The music is kind of fucked. And dark. That’s comforting to me, that those all exist at the same time.”


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