The Montgolfier Brothers are Mark Tranmer and Roger Quigley; Tranmer writes and performs much of the duo's music, while Quigley writes the lyrics and provides their vocals. Both artists have released numerous solo projects on their own, and collaborated with other artists, in addition to recording together as the Montgolfier Brothers. Tranmer -- who is based in Manchester, England -- has recorded under name Gnac (taken from a short story by Italian writer Italo Calvino) in 1996, recording singles for the Earworm and Liquefaction labels. Tranmer became familiar with Quigley's work after hearing his contributions to a 1997 label compilation, An Evening in the Company of the Vespertine, for the Paris-based Vespertine Records, on which he also appeared. He met with Quigley and they soon formed their own musical partnership, taking their moniker from Joseph and Jacques de Montgolfier, the two French brothers who -- on April 4, 1783 -- gave the first public demonstration of a hot-air balloon in their home town.
Tranmer's first Gnac album, Friend Sleeping, was released in June 1999. This was followed in November by Sevens (on the Rocket Girl label), which was a collection of his previously released 7" singles and new tracks. Through a friend, Tranmer's Gnac's synth-driven cinematic soundscapes came to the attention of Alan McGee, who was then about to form his Poptones label. In fact, McGee's first release on his new label was the Montgolfier Brothers' Seventeen Stars, a re-release of their full length which had come out on Vespertine (now defunct) in 2000. Tranmer subsequently released Gnac's third album, Biscuit Barrel Fashion, on Poptones in 2001. Quigley's other projects have included drumming for Lovewood, alongside singer/songwriter Mark Collinson, whom Quigley manages as well. Quigley was also involved in an instrumental project with Dave Sherman, called Transfiguration, who issued their Alpha Tapes album on the French-based Mini Tenor Records in 2001. The Montgolfier Brothers have toured across Europe and have recorded a second album, tentatively entitled The World Is Flat.
Tranmer continues to provide background music for movies/documentaries and various other occasions, often in the art world; Greek-born conceptual artist Miltos Manetas commissioned Tranmer to provide music for his "Neen" art/social/philosophical "movement." Incidentally, their live guitarist, Otto Smart, records under the name the Otto Show.