The Null Device


Unlike some people, I didn't get to go to Iceland, but I did get to see a small piece of Iceland tonight at the Corner; namely, Múm. They were supported by Minimum Chips (my second favourite local band at the moment) and Architecture In Helsinki.

The Chips played two sets on the side stage: one shortly after 9, when the doors opened, and one after AIH finished while Múm were setting up. For the first set and half of the second, they played without Ian, with the drum kit standing empty and an old analogue drum machine carefully programmed with all their drum patterns. They played all the tracks off Gardenesque, a few old songs from around the time of Swish and a few from various compilations, which was good.

Between their two sets, local twee indie-pop orchestra Architecture In Helsinki took to the main stage and played for about 45 minutes. They played some tracks off Fingers Crossed (some in extended versions) and a few new tracks; their new material is somewhat less sugary than the album tracks, and perhaps a bit reggae/dub/ska inspired in places. (Which makes sense; they have enough personnel to form a ska band, for one.)

And Múm were pretty good. Their music was rather sparse, drifting between pieces. It is probably a dreadful cliché to say that it evokes the sparse Icelandic landscapes, but it did. They played a number of pieces, including some new ones, melding from piece to piece. I was expecting them to be standing behind laptops and controlling some mysterious process that made plinking noises, but most of the music was live, played on melodica, violin, keyboards (including a vintage Wurlitzer and a Moog), guitar, drums and xylophone; oh, and the obligatory PowerBook. They finished up with an encore of I'm 9 Today. And the Guns'n'Roses T-shirt one of the band was wearing was quite amusing.

And someone kept blowing soap bubbles over the audience during their set. Probably an AIH fan.

There are 5 comments on "Múm":

Posted by: CNWB Fri Sep 5 04:42:36 2003

I thought they were a bit wishy-washy. Lowercase noodling and instrument-swapping indie improv didn't seem too well suited to a venue such as a packed Corner Hotel. Maybe a more intimate setting would have allowed their music to win me over a bit more. Then again, maybe I've been listening to too much Fox FM lately. Their more structured stuff won me over, and the ticket paid for itself when I heard their accents.

Posted by: acb Fri Sep 5 16:34:05 2003

Yes, well, it goes with the territory. Complaining about a Múm gig being indie improv and lowercase noodling is a bit like going to see Johnny Cash and complaining that he's "too country" or something.

Posted by: Sean Graham Fri Sep 5 21:02:34 2003

I saw Múm play, hmmm, maybe about a year ago at a small club here (Cambridge, MA) called the 608 (which is gone now, and very well could technically be in Somerville). Anyway, the club held about 200 people and was filled to capacity... It was great seeing them in such a small venue...

Posted by: CNWB Mon Sep 8 02:50:28 2003

It was more the context I was critiquing, not so much the music.

Posted by: CNWB Mon Sep 8 02:58:32 2003 in, I'm all for lowercase noodling and indie-improv, but the venue wasn't ideal for the enjoyment of such music. Of course, I understand that market forces determine such things, but from a selfish point of view, I'd have liked to have seen them perform, say, in my bedroom.