musicians on Mimi Parker from Low

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Jeff Tweedy, Wilco; producer, The Invisible Way

Low goes way back in my family – my wife had a rock club in Chicago called Lounge Axe, which Low had been playing since the early 90s. I’ve always been a fan – never really got to know them personally until that Nels Cline joined our group, and he was friends with Alan [Sparhawk], so Alan started coming to see us play. We just became friends and at one point we toured together, and they asked me to produce a record with them, and I guess that’s when we got pretty close, or more closer than just fellow travelers.

I think most people would look at Mimi without considering that she was a serious artist. I don’t think she made any pretense – there was nothing about her that read as anything other than a normal Midwesterner. It’s my favorite thing on earth, when normal people reveal their depths of emotional understanding, and her emotion was heightened by the fact that she was so flippant about her genius.

I’ve never seen anyone be so casually brilliant. She was a giant – when I close my eyes and imagine her voice, she seems to me the clearest of any voice I’ve heard in my life. His voice was so indelibly defined. There’s something really sacred about the way she sang and savored notes, almost like a form of meditation – the way she and Alan could breathe together and make this music that was secular church music, or something like that. Being around her and witnessing it is just amazing, because it was so easy and unpretentious. For Mimi, it was just a way of life.

Low, Alan, Mimi, have been for me, for a long time, a bar to aim for – making music that makes me feel what their music makes me feel. Even before I met them, their music did that for me, and certainly after working with them, there was additional inspiration to be accepted by them.

What I keep thinking about Mimi is that she savored every note, and I’m glad – there wasn’t a single note that was never rushed, and that brings me comfort , knowing she had the presence of mind to sing with such grounded appreciation of every note she was able to sing.

Mimi Parker on stage in 2011.

Mimi Parker on stage in 2011. Photography: Chris Uncle/REX/Shutterstock

Steve Albini

Mimi Parker had a beautifully pure voice, but what made Low special was the way her voice and Alan’s blended together, creating a unique tone. There is no better pairing of voices in music, and the effect of these two chants was particularly moving. I absolutely loved working with them in the studio and had the pleasure of sharing a stage with them a few times. We invited them to play at the ATP events we hosted and watching them take over a huge ballroom with the quietest sounds and smallest gestures was like watching magic happen. They didn’t do anything to demand your attention, but the purity of their sound commanded you to pay attention. Their music seemed completely devoid of ego, only about the sound they produced and the words they sang, but through that we learned something about them – that they were capable of this and that impressed. I loved Low both as a band and as people and I’m sure listening to their music made me a better person.

Robert Plante

Tragic – so sad. Alan and Mimi and their delicious weaving, her voice a serene and beautiful shimmer. They have been an inspiration to me for so long.

BJ Burton, producer, Double Negative and Hey What

She will always be the coolest in the room. And she made me feel like family. Mim changed my life, as I’m sure she has with countless other people around the world. Not just through his songs, but through his warm, consistent energy that has guided me to find beauty in just about any situation. And she will forever be the voice of the greatest recordings in which I will participate. I had the chance to see her laugh, and that’s what I will miss the most.

Georgia Hubley, Yo La Tengo

I didn’t know Mimi well, but as a group that existed in a similar orbit for a similar length of time as Yo La Tengo, I always felt a strong kinship with Low. Mimi’s moving voice and unique approach to the drums will stay with me for a long time. A very special memory for us is playing with them in New York last December. Their set was stunningly beautiful and then Alan and Mimi joined us with Fred Armisen on drums for a few songs. It surely helps to cherish those fleeting moments.

Justin Vernon, Bon Iver

What a stomach ache – Mimi was such a powerful force and Low was the standard that a lot of indie bands are held to, whether they know it or not. Our hearts are breaking in the Midwest.

Slow dive

We were fortunate enough to tour North America with Low back in 2014. Amidst the chaos of touring, Mimi brought a sense of peace and serenity. Like his percussion, his impact was soft yet powerful. We loved watching their soundcheck and then their show each night. It was both a privilege and a joy. I remember Alan saying that Mimi didn’t have to “work” on vocals. She was natural and her beautiful voice was effortless, one of her many gifts to the world. She leaves us four decades of deeply gracious music and memories.

Takiaya Reed, divide and dissolve

Mim as an artist completely changed my perspective in terms of what’s possible. I have never known or witnessed such consistency in a musician. His voice and drums are hypnotic and perfect. My life will be changed forever after meeting her. She performed and communicated with a deep and unwavering love and commitment to her craft and her relationships, especially her family. It was the greatest honor to support Low around the world this year. Every day we played a show, she was so kind and caring. I will miss his hugs and his goth fashion atmosphere, but especially his confidence in me and in Sylvie [Nehill] as artists and his encouragement. I have learned so much and will forever hold it sacred and close to my heart.

Warren EllisDirty Three

Totally heartbreaking news. I remember hearing his voice coming through the headphones when we were doing a take of Down By the River for the In the Fishtank EP. I stopped playing the violin. Time stopped. Those moments you will never forget. A gentle soul with an angel voice and such devotion.

Related: Low: Hey what review | Alexis Petridis album of the week

Carrie Brownstein, Sleater Kinney

I first saw Low perform in 1997 on September 26, backstage at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Washington. At midnight I turned 23, just as they were playing my favorite song at the time, Venus, a seven-inch single that I had been listening to on repeat for days. My friend turned to me and said “Happy Birthday”. It remains one of my favorite birthdays, and hearing Low perform is one of the best gifts I have ever received, because like love, it is a gift that has never left me. Earlier this year, Corin [Tucker] and I stood on the sidelines of a festival in Minneapolis and watched Low perform, playing songs from their latest album, which is among their best. We were in awe of Mimi’s voice and drumming, and the sweet power of her presence. Then we caught up with her and Alan, laughing at the years of music we’ve all put on; we talked about aging, parenthood and of course stompboxes. You know, all the important stuff. We are grateful for every note that Mimi sang and played, notes that changed our lives, and we are grateful for Low’s music, which will forever be unique, amazing, breathtaking. Reposted with permission from Sleater-Kinney’s Instagram.

Geoff Barrow, Portishead and Beak>

I am heartbroken by the news of Mimi Parker’s passing. His voice with that of Alan has often moved me like no other group. Their music together has transcended all the bullshit in the world and I’ll cherish every time I’ve seen them perform live or say hello to Mimi at a festival.

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