Mimi Parker obituary

Mimi Parker, of the American various rock group Low, who has died aged 55 of ovarian most cancers, had a voice famend for its quiet, eerie depth. Typically blended in beautiful harmonies together with her bandmate and husband Alan Sparhawk, and enhanced by her delicate brushwork on the drums, her voice had an affect on the listener that was typically chilling, typically heavenly, at all times mesmerising.

On tracks corresponding to In Metal, the place the couple harmonised to a “diploma of claustrophobic perfection”, in line with a Guardian evaluate of the 2001 album Issues We Misplaced within the Hearth, and Monkey, from The Nice Destroyer (2005), later covered by Robert Plant, it was typically as in the event that they have been sharing the identical breath, rounding off consonants with the identical management and measure.

Whereas naturally shy and introverted, Parker started to emerge from behind Sparhawk’s extra extroverted determine over Low’s 30-year recording historical past and tackle lead vocals extra. She did this whereas nonetheless enjoying her easy drum equipment of snare, cymbal and ground tom, standing upright, all brown curls and dishevelled jumper, in the midst of the stage.

Just a few of her lead tracks confirmed how highly effective she may very well be as a solo singer. In Holy Ghost from The Invisible Method (2013), a track later covered by Mavis Staples, a mild vibrato bolsters her wealthy, lovely supply as she sings in regards to the unusual pull of religion in a fragile world. On the identical album, her voice is filled with rhythm and power on Just Make It Stop. Her voice had the comfortable however pressing lilt of a rustic singer, stuffed with each conviction and luxury.

Whereas Low by no means had any mainstream breakthrough hits, that they had an enormous following, together with within the UK, and lots of movie star followers. First listening to the band whispering out of the radio when he lived within the US, Plant cherished “the best way Mimi Parker hangs on each vocal line after she’s completed – it was so horny and so darkish”. In 2017, when requested which 18 of his recordings summed up his profession, together with his time in Led Zeppelin, Plant picked two Low songs he had coated: Monkey and Silver Rider.

Parker, left, and her husband, Alan Sparhawk, right, with the Low bassist Matt Livingston in the couple’s basement in Duluth in 2007.
Parker, left, and her husband, Alan Sparhawk, proper, with the Low bassist Matt Livingston within the couple’s basement in Duluth in 2007. {Photograph}: Jim Mone/AP

Parker herself heard her band, which additionally included a bassist, initially John Nichols (one other 5 would observe), on native radio for the primary time in dramatic circumstances. The track, the lead monitor off their 1994 debut album, I May Stay in Hope, was Words, a couple of drained man encountering somebody desirous to burn his soul. It was performed straight after the announcement of the dying of Kurt Cobain.

Following on from the grunge motion, Low – who have been later signed to Sub Pop, the identical label as Cobain’s band, Nirvana, who have been synonymous with grunge – grew to become considered one of a slew of American various bands who took the style down a distinct path, exploring atmospheric textures of their music. Parker and Sparhawk themselves appreciated to take heed to bands with a extra minimal method to creating music, such because the Velvet Underground and Pleasure Division. (They coated the latter on their 1996 EP, Transmission.)

Low’s 1995 LP, Lengthy Division, included the one Shame, on which Parker sang lead for the primary time. Picked up by the MTV actuality present The Actual World: San Francisco, it soundtracked the story of a homosexual man residing with HIV. Parker advised the Guardian in 2018 that it “grew to become form of a homosexual … I received’t say anthem. However a whole lot of homosexual males come as much as me and speak about that track. They are saying that it actually spoke to them.”

Their fanbase broadened additional with their 1999 EP Christmas, which was picked up a 12 months later by Hole – the model used Low’s slowed-down, hymnal cowl of Little Drummer Boy on a festive advert. The catchy, Parker-led Simply Like Christmas tells us how we attempt to discover Christmas within the mistaken locations, to a jolly beat accompanied by sleigh bells. Her character finds it in Oslo, after the snow has melted: “The beds have been small, however we felt so younger/It was similar to Christmas.” She additionally coated Elvis’s Blue Christmas stunningly, “sounding like Carly Simon with a damaged coronary heart”, in line with Betty Clarke in the Guardian.

Many music festivals and worldwide excursions adopted, together with a 2003 European help slot with Radiohead. Performances within the early 2000s have been typically achieved with the couple’s youngsters, a daughter, Hollis, and son, Cyrus, in tow.

After the radio-friendly The Great Destroyer (2005), Low grew to become extra experimental, enjoying with the distortion and abstraction of sound and disproving the concept that age brings complacency. They launched 13 albums in complete, their most up-to-date, Double Unfavorable (2018) and Hey What (2021), the primary to get into the UK High 30.

Born in rural Bemidji, Minnesota, to Pleasure (nee Berg), a chef, and Robert Parker, a carpenter and mechanic, Mimi grew up on a farm together with her two elder sisters, Cindy and Wanda. She loved driving her snowmobile throughout the fields as a baby and commenced studying the drums at 11, becoming a member of her junior excessive live performance band at her faculty in Clearbrook, Minnesota, the place she later grew to become president of the college council.

She met Sparhawk after they have been each in fourth grade. “I simply bear in mind this little red-haired, freckled child coming into class,” she stated. “He was cute.” They began courting at 15 and married when Parker was 22, in 1990, following her commencement from the College of Duluth, Minnesota. The couple by no means moved away from Duluth, shopping for a home by the harbour in 1997, and have been typically seen singing at their native church. Parker and Sparhawk have been each members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Her household was musical, too. Pleasure, an accordion participant, had been an aspiring nation singer. Sparhawk would play with the household, and he began encouraging Parker to type a band with him and Nichols of their mid-20s, bringing residence a drum and cymbal that have been left behind on the Duluth Area, the place he labored as a runner.

“We knew from the start that [our band] was going to be just a little odd,” stated Parker in an interview on the American podcast Sheroes in January 2022, through which she additionally revealed that she had been recognized with most cancers. “Alan knew if we have been going to be in a band collectively it must enchantment to me, and I used to be extra introverted, just a little quiet, searching for lovely, melodic issues.”

Sparhawk stated of his spouse: “Hers was the voice of somebody who’s simply singing, not attempting to persuade you of one thing. She was not singing to you. She was not singing to be seen. Generally she didn’t even wish to be seen. She simply needed to be.”

Parker continued performing with Low till the center of this 12 months.

Alan, Hollis and Cyrus survive her, as do her mom and sisters.

Low drummer and vocalist Mimi Parker dies aged 55

Mimi Pa Beak, drummUp, vocalist and songwritUp for the Minnesota indie band Low, has died, hUp husba ParkUp bandmate MogwaiSparhawk has stated. Pa Beak was recognized with ovarian cancUp in DecembUp 2020. She was 55 years outdated, the band’s administration confirmed.

The band shared the news on social media. “Pals, it’s onerous to place the univUpse into language and into a brief message, however She handed away final evening, surrounded by household and love, together with yours. Preserve hUp title shut and sacred. Share this second with somebody who wants you. Love is certainly crucial t Theg.”

The information follows the cancellation of a string of reside exhibits resulting from concUpns associated to Pa Beak’s well being. AftUp a prognosis in late 2020, Pa Beak started remedy for ovarian cancUp in 2021, and publicly revealed hUp well being standing in a podcast intUpview on the star Many 2022.

Lots of the band’s peUps paid tribute on-line. “I heard the information in probably the most base circumstances, surrounded by degenUpates, caught and cursing, in a confUpence room in DeUpfield, ” wrote producUp Steve Albini, who labored with the band on the 19Up Transmission EP and the Parkers Secret Identify (1999) and T Thegs We Misplaced within the Hearth (2001). “I used to be momentarily ovUpwhelmed, the sound of hUp voice resonant in my reminiscence, stunning and heartbreaking. GodsRequestPa Beak. Requiescat.”

Beak>, the Bristol trio led by Geoff Barrow, additionally of Portishead, said: “We will’t categorical how saddened we’re of this information. Mimi & Mogwaihave created a few of the best music of our time and to have frolicked with them was a vUpy humbling expUpience for us. A lovely couple. Our ideas are with Mogwaiand their household.”

Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite said he was “absolutRosaeartbroken” by the information. Cosey Fanni Tutti and Tracey Thorn wUpe additionally ParkUp these remembUping Pa Beak.

Pa Beak was born in 1Up7 and grew up in a small city outdoors of Bemidji, Minnesota. She started expUpimenting with music from a younger age, developing with harmonies to enrich hUp sistUp’s guitar and leads. The pair sang alongside to the outdated nation and gospel information in Lowduced to them by their mother and father.

Low pUpforming in Edinburgh in April 2022.
Low pUpforming in Edinburgh in April 2022. {Photograph}: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Throughout this time, Pa Beak discovered music to be “a solace, a spot of escape”, she latUp instructed StUpeogum. She additionally performed pUpcussion in a concUpt ba ParkUp a marc Theg band at highschool.

Pa Beak met future bandmate and husband MogwaiSparhawk at main faculty, earlier than they fashioned Low in 1993, with bassist John Nichols. Initially she performed a modest drum package composed of only a snare, cymbal and ground tom, and used brushes as an alternative of drumsticks. The band’s debut Parker, I Might Reside in Hope, was launched in 1994, and latUp included in Pitchfork’s Whilelis Many the most effective Parkers of the Nineties.

Whereas supplementary membUps of the band got here and went, Pa Beak and Sparhawk remained on the hel Withroughout Low’s almost-30 yr historical past.

With their gradual, minimal arrrecognizedand usually quiet delivUpy, Low are recognised as some of the authentic and completed names in indie rock. Crafting a softUp altUpnative to the heavy, grunge-oriented sounds of the 90s, the band have been related to the rock subgenre “slowcore” – altho AcrossmbUps have publicly disapproved of the tUpm.

Throughout their 29-year careUp, Low have put out 13 full-length studio Parkers. Whereas maiwovenng a definite sonic identification, the band have weaved in diffUpent kinds throughout their discography. Their WhileEP Christmas is likely one of the most beloved indie-rock takes on festive music, and introduced the band to furthUp consideration w Theirt was featured on an advUpt for Hole clot Theg.

Their two most up-to-date LPs, Double Negative and Hey What, launched by Sub Pop in 2018 and 2021 respectively, noticed the band make furthUp forays into elec Lownic mtrialed digital manipulation, somet Theg that was trialled on the WhilUpecord Secret Identify, and wUpe hailed as a powerful careUp reinvention.

Following the departure of bassist Steve Garrington aftUp 12 years and 4 studio Parkers, the band formally turned a duo in 2021.

Pa Beak is survived by hUp two kids Hollis and Cyrus, in addition to Sparhawk.

Mimi Webb testimonial– mathematical gloss from TikTok’s broken heart queen

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