Since working together under the Slowblow moniker, its participants have apparently never lived in the same country at the same time. Nevertheless, Orri Jónsson (b. 5 November 1970, Reykjavik, Iceland) and Dagur Kári Pétursson (b. 12 December 1973, Aix En Provence, France) create a music that sounds intimate and close enough to have been made by long-term cohabitants rather than long-distance acquaintances. The duo began recording together in the early 90s and released two albums, Quicksilver Tuna and Fousque, in the middle of the decade on the Smekkleysa label. Tellingly, Jónsson is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York and has apparently spent several years on Forsaken Farms, a photography project documenting the interiors of abandoned farmhouses in Iceland. Jónsson has also organized events for the Icelandic Film Museum where musicians such as Jóhann Jóhannson and Múm have composed/performed new music for old films. The latter band’s singer Kristín Anna Valtysdóttir’s presence was keenly felt on the duo’s third album, 2004’s Slowblow : she appeared on four of the album’s tracks, with her vocal for ‘Cardboard Box’ apparently being recorded in Jónsson’s mother’s tiny Reykjavik bathroom (the album was also partially recorded in the converted indoor swimming pool that Sigur Rós use as their recording studio). The use of sounds of ‘the wooden floor in Orri’s living room’, ‘a handrail solo on the staircase’, squeaking organ pedals, mechanical sewing machines, an upturned washing bin (as a drum) and recordings of fireworks (on ‘Cardboard Box’) alongside the more usual musical saw, upright bass and slide guitar accentuated the sense of intimacy and overtly Icelandic yearning. Slowblow have notably worked with Emilíana Torrini and had their ‘Is Jesus Your Pal?’ covered by esoteric dance project Gus Gus. Jónsson, meanwhile, engineered Múm’s exquisite Summer Make Good album. Pétursson also works as a film director, completing Noi Albinoi in 2003 and Dark Horse a year later.
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