Low Island's path has never been straight forward.
Releases drop when they please, building up into a singular catalogue of stark but ever-inventive music.
Set to compile their work from the past 18 months on a new release, Low Island have decided to stop, take a breather, and smell the roses.
Songwriting that tackles loneliness, pressure, resilience, and how music can help us make it through, Low Island's work shocks with its relish for new ideas.
The band's Carlos Posada jots down a few sonic reference points...
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Arthur Russell - 'That’s Us/Wild Combination'
Jamie’s mum first showed us Arthur Russell when we were about 15 years old. We were all drawn to the amount of variety in his music, the co-existence of electronic and acoustic sounds, and his ability to find beauty in the everyday. "That’s us, before we got there..." is one of those incredibly poignant lines that could apply to so many things.
At the moment, I read it as an expression of looking ahead to your future with someone without fear. Supposedly the song was exhaustively reworked as well. It’s something I’ve always found comforting about listening to Arthur Russell; a reminder that songs don’t always come together overnight. They take time and nurturing.
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Caribou - 'Sun'
Like Arthur Russell’s wonky disco, Caribou showed us how dance music could be made without sounding perfectly polished. It’s a massive exercise in self-restraint making dance music on a computer; putting things in time, tuning, making sure every frequency is fairly represented, is always just a click away.
I find that Caribou ignores all of that very deliberately, like in this track. Stuff is left out of tune, everything is always modulating, and often certain parts sit crazily above others in the mix (like the vocal here). It’s what makes him such a special artist - he’s able to tell such intricate stories with only a handful of carefully selected sounds.
Luke Abbott - 'Modern Driveway'
I first heard this tune at 4am at a friend’s house party when I was 18. I had to go and take a time out after. I’m listening to it right now as we’re driving through Holland on the way to Lollapalooza Berlin.
It’s the perfect soundtrack for long drives. Also for moments of intense sadness. And happiness. Any time is good actually. This emotional cocktail is something we’re always chasing; lyrically and musically.
LCD Soundsystem - 'All My Friends'
We finally saw LCD live this year at All Points East. There’s a sense of complete hopeless abandon when they play this tune. It’s the beginning, middle and end of the party. It’s the feeling of getting older, disconnecting from your past and missing it all at the same time. And it’s just two chords over one groove.
When I listen, I’m always taken back to the filmed performance at Madison Square Garden in Shut Up And Play the Hits, when guitarist Al Doyle is playing the song like it’s the last song he’ll ever play in his life. Completely glorious and hopeless all at once.
Warpaint - 'Disco//Very'
The whole of this record is fantastic and beautifully produced. I’ve chosen this song in particular because of the drums. Stella Mozgawa has become a regular reference point for us in the studio, and in this song, she’s playing a dance groove with a lo-fi drum sound mixed in with other electronic percussion. It’s a sound that we’re often after. Like in the Caribou or LCD tracks, we love the rawness and human feel that live drums can bring to dance music.
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‘Low Island 17-18’ will be available on vinyl from September 20th - an extended ‘Low Island & Friends 17-18’ drops on October 12th.
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