múm (pronounced "moom," with the band's name generally written in all lowercase) is an experimental Icelandic musical group whose music offers a delicate mixture of glitch electronica, chamber instruments (accordion, trumpet, bells, clarinet, violin, piano) and atmospheric vocals.
The band formed in 1997. Its original members were Gunnar Örn Tynes, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, and twin sisters Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir. In 2002, Gyða left the band to return to her studies in Reykjavík.
According to Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, the band's name was not intended to mean anything; in fact, the band was unaware of the English word "mum" when they chose it.
Kristín, who was previously main vocalist, has left the band, and she confirmed this with an open letter through FatCat records. Kristín, under the alias of Kría Brekken, will be releasing 'Pullhair Rubeye' in Spring 2007 on FatCat, which was recorded with her husband Avey Tare, a member of Animal Collective.
Since leaving múm, Kristín has also toured with Animal Collective and collaborated with Mice Parade.
Múm’s current lineup includes founding members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason and for touring and recording, this line-up is expanded to include their friends Ólöf Arnalds (violin / viola / guitar / vocals), Eiríkur Orri Olafsson (trumpet / pianette / moog / whistling), Hildur Gudnadottir (cello / vocals), mr.Silla (Vocals / various) and Finlander, Samuli Kosminen (drums / percussion). The band's new LP, titled 'Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy' is due for release on 24th September 2007 through FatCat, and is preceded by the single 'They Made Frogs Smoke 'Til They Exploded' on 27th August.
(The band should not be confused with the Austrian hiphop duo MUM)
Since their foundation in 1998, múm have forged a sublimely bright, warm and rich take on electronic music, imprinting it with their own unique sound and character. What sets the band apart from so many of their peers is both their strong, playfully haunted melodies, and sorcerous integration of analog and digital technologies. Playing an assortment of instruments and percussion alongside some crisply programmed electronic washes, beats, dingdongs and beep-beeps as well as found sounds and field recordings, the band’s talent, inventiveness and nose for musical exploration is immediately audible.
Their first release, a split 10" with the girl-band Spúnk saw light in the summer of '98 and following a number of collaborative projects, the group’s celebrated debut album Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK (released by Morr Music) gained a wealth of glowing press and widespread praise. A remix project, Please Smile My Noise Bleed, also released on the Morr Music label in November 2001.
Their FatCat debut, Finally We Are No One, was released in May 2002, followed by massive touring; múm dazzled crowds by re-creating their recorded works with primarily live instrumentation, accompanied occasionally by the most common sight in electronic sets, the laptop (music-calculator). The band's second FatCat album, Summer Make Good, was released in May 2004, flanked by two singles, “Nightly Cares” and “Dusk Log”. Since their debut, múm have also written and performed their own soundtrack for the classic Sergei Eisenstein film, Battleship Potemkin, live performances of which have taken place in Hafnafjordur Iceland, the Brooklyn Lyceum in NYC, and Spain’s distinguished Gijon Film Festival.
They composed music for a radio play on Icelandic National radio entitled Svefnhjólið (Sleeping Wheel) by Gyrdir Eliasson, winning the Nordic Radio-theater prize. In 2005 they were invited to Amsterdam by the Holland Festival to collaborate with the National Dutch Chamber Orchestra to create a piece based around the compositions of late avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis for one of the centerpiece performances of the festival.
The start of 2006 saw the band’s creativity start to blossom once again, starting with two remixes for Goldfrapp of the tracks “Number One” and “Never Know”. They followed this with two legendary DJ sets at the FatCat Festival in Belgium and at SXSW. With a combination of decks, effects, laptops, toy microphones, old cassette player recordings and vocals, coupled with their own recorded material, strange electronic covers by friends, gypsy folk music and general craziness on stage, the DJ sets made such an impact that the band plans to release a DJ mix CD in 2008. They were also subsequently invited to DJ at the 2006 Summer Sonic Festival in Japan as well as headline Radio 1’s Rob Da Bank tent at Bestival on the Isle of Wight.
During 2006, they also wrote and recorded a new album which is due for release September 25th (24th UK/Europe) on FatCat Records. This follows the January 2007 release of the Peel Sessions that múm recorded in 2002 for the BBC. The session includes live versions of the tracks “Scratched Bicycle/Smell Memory,” “Awake On A Train,” “Now Theres That Fear Again,” “The Ballad Of the Broken String.”