“disarray” By Low Review | Pitchfork
Twenty years ago, long before electronic music’s production techniques were anywhere near as widespread in other genres, slowcore titans Low released a remix album. Such a thing wasn’t unheard of in the indie scene; Tortoise and Yo La Tengo were also flirting with dance-inspired mixes around that time. But in the case of Low, whose languid bass melodies and bright vocal harmonies seemed as organic as river channels carved into stone, the incorporation of DJ Vadim’s breakbeats and Porter Ricks’ minimal-techno pulses represented an unexpected shift toward the synthetic.
Like much of their forthcoming album Double Negative, “Disarray” marks a return to those electronic soundscapes. Recorded with B.J. Burton, a producer and engineer who has also worked with James Blake and Sylvan Esso, the song sounds as much decomposed as it is composed, as though the original tracks they laid down in the studio had been irretrievably corrupted. Its foundation is a gravelly, pulsing set of tones with all trace of their origins (bass? guitar? piano?) lost beneath the all-encompassing fuzz. Where the old Low remains is in the vocals—gorgeous close harmonies whose startling clarity is only accentuated by the blackened textures beneath them. That contrast goes to the heart of “Disarray”: “This evil spirit, man, it’s bringing me down,” sing Mimi Parker and Alan Sparkhawk in the song’s pained refrain, as if soaring high above unimaginable wreckage, unable to look away.