by the time we got to the venue, kippi kaninus was on stage, filling the room with all kinds of acoustic noises and soft melodies. this Icelandic one-man project has recently put out a cd on kitchen motors, a successor to his first self-released effort. his set was one continuous stream of textures - from pleasant flowing, almost classical melodies, with noises coming from contact mic and various crackling glitchy sounds, to more heavy rhythmic mechanized beats, not particularly exciting by themselves, but working quite well in contrast with the rest of the set. altogether, I was quite impressed by the atmosphere he created - fragile and soothing ambience, with a deep classical touch, augmented with quiet acoustic noises and glitchy clicks and whirrs.
after a brief setup pause (filled with strange jazzy 50s melodies) múm got on stage and made everyone sit back on the floor. I am still a little puzzled (if not alarmed) of how touched I am by their music, its almost post-rock appeal is so moving, in a most gentle, most honest, unpretentious, humble way, at the same time not defying my electronic snobbery.
the venue (museum performance space) was almost completely dark, with them on stage - three guys (they did acquire an additional member for the tour) and two girls. the floor on the first level and the balcony was filled with sitting people (which is surprising for that venue, someone must have started it, but it worked out for the best, considering the nature of music and the performance). dimmed lights and the sheer unrestricted, open volume of the performance space yet again proved to be the perfect setting.
the crowd in general was an excellent setting for those with a passion for people-watching - usual collection of hipster kids, stylishly conformist in their quest for diversity. granted, more or less "generic" appeal of múm attracted a lot of those outside of usual not-so-sexy hardcore electronic geeky crowd, which, once you adopt non-judgmental approach, proved to be a pleasing sight.
for their set they have chosen to perform in more acoustic manner, with all of them exchanging instruments, switching between guitars, strange flute-like instruments, keyboards, cello, live drums, accordion and glockenspiel. it was such an experience to recognize the tracks, remember them from the cd, and then see how they were created in front of you. there were plenty of slower compositions, in their most renowned manner - flowing drawn-out melody, with their peculiar melancholic fogginess, led forward by cello and small splashes of drums, deep bassline and electronic percussion textures; a continuous presence of small chimes and gentle noises, together with barely audible childlike female voices.
although at first I did wish for the stronger, more rhythmic tracks, it was nice to just be immersed in such a graceful, touching atmosphere, finally becoming no one, taking it all inside; during the whole performance (and the encore) I could not wipe a silly grin off my face.
their childish awkwardness, combined with the emotional, sometimes even epic atmosphere they create, with the touch of nordic simplicity and calmness, proved to be irresistible live - quietly moving, complex and changing, nicely orchestrated - a real treat to witness múm on stage, I was often tempted to close my eyes and just listen to them, but at the same time I did not want to miss them switching instruments and actually performing the music.
it was not a short set, but an hour of múm was not enough, at least the ambience they have created lasts a lot longer, with the help of their records.
I would only recommend watching múm live - to anyone from idm connoisseurs clutching an arovane vinyl to their bosoms, or to a post-rock junkie drooling over god speed you black emperor cd - múm's music is universal, bridging and boundaries between genres and witnessing them live is an experience on its own.