Slowpho began in 1997 when Kjetil Nordhus and Christian Watkins united around an admiration for the downtempo trip-hop sound that was en vogue at the time. Later that year, they were joined by vocalist Hilde Drange, only to have Nordhus depart (he would eventually resurface as the vocalist of Norwegian art metal rockers Green Carnation). But Watkins and Drange soldiered on, and by 1999 Slowpho was performing live, showcasing a sound that wavered somewhere between trip-hop and drum'n'bass. The Lovetech EP arrived in 2001 as a joint release between Groovecentral and Beatservice; Slowpho also started to appear on compilations, including Arctic Circles 3 with fellow Norwegian electronic experimenters Röyksopp.
The full-length debut Hi-Fi Sounds for Young Norwegians appeared on Beatservice in early 2002, and was lauded in the electronica underground for its smooth mixture of nu-jazz, downtempo groove, minimalist textures, and Drange's honeyed vocals. A world tour followed. In March 2003, Hi-Fi Sounds was re-released by Water Music featuring two additional tracks -- "Sovenier" and "I Wake Myself" -- as well as remixes of three other songs on the record.