Prior to moving to Tucson, AZ, in 1997, Gabriel Naïm Amor and Thomas Belhom had explored a variety of musical styles in Paris, France, first in the hardcore punk outfit Witches Valley, then as members of the experimental music/theatrical avant-garde political activist stage group Generation Chaos. Once settled in Tucson, the pair set to collaborating with not only one another, but also local Calexico stalwarts Joey Burns and John Convertino, as well as French filmmaker
Marianne Dissard (director of the Giant Sand documentary Drunken Bees). Amor and Belhom provided the soundtrack to Dissard's French television documentary Low Y Cool in 1995; Dissard later returned the favor by contributing lyrics for two of the duo's albums, Wavelab and Amor Belhom Duo. Amor (vocals, guitar, violin, and samplers) and Belhom (percussion, drums, accordion, and vocals) recorded their collaborative debut, Wavelab Performance, at its eponymous Tucson studio in May 1998. The album provided a sonic glimpse into the duo's alternately pensive and propulsive French avant-pop; it was initially released on the duo's own Normandie Dream label. Following an opening slot on Sparklehorse's West Coast tour in early 1999, the pair returned to Wavelab in May of that year to record their self-titled follow-up, released the following year in Europe on the French label Ici D'ailleurs. Amor Belhom Duo was ultimately released in the U.S. by Carrot Top in 2001, as was its predecessor (simply retitled Wavelab upon its re-release). Amor Belhom Duo toured incessantly throughout 2000, sharing the stage with, among others, David Grubbs, Quentin Rollet, Noel Akchote, Calexico, and Giant Sand. The year also saw the appearance of the Amor, Belhom, Burns, Convertino -- aka ABBC -- album Tete a Tete, released in the U.S. on Wabana Records. Other recordings by the pair have appeared over the years, either solely in Europe (Live in Tucson) or at shows (Any Time Any Way). In 2001, Amor released his solo debut, Soundtracks (on Portland, OR's Film Guerrero label), and started a new collaboration with drummer/vibraphonist Jimmy Carr, while Belhom embarked upon a solo career of his own.