múm (pronunciation: [muːm] - moom) are an exploratory Icelandic musical group whose music is characterized by experiments in electronic music, soft vocals, glitch beats, innovative sampling and eerie effects with a variety of traditional and unconventional instruments. The band was formed in 1997 by original members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason and has since then released six full albums, as well as a mountain of other music, singles, EP's, collaborations, theatre and film music. In 2013 múm released a single with Kylie Minogue, Whistle from the film Jack & Diane which the band composed the original score the year before. In 2015 múm wrote a special piece named Drowning with German pianist and composer Hauschka, commissioned by the MDR Sinfonieorchester in Leipzig where it was performed that summer. múm’s most recent extracurricular project is a semiimprovised electronic music score to the silent masterpiece Menschen am Sonntag (1930), sculpted through a series of monthly events at local art gallery Mengi with the aim ultimately to write a new score to the film, which they toured through Europe in February and March and performed at selected film festivals in 2016 and will continue this project in 2017. múm also played a special show at Iceland Airwaves Festival 2016 where the collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, playing songs from múms back catalog at Harpa Concert Hall.
A brief history:
In 1997 split "10 record with two songs in their first year and recording most of their first album, Yesterday was dramatic, today is OK. They were joined a year later by twin sisters Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir and released two albums as quartet, but were aided on the second album by drummer and reggae percussion wizard Samuli Kosminen, who also joined the touring troupe. In 2002, after the release of Finally we are no one and the first world tour, Gyða left the band to return to her studies in Reykjavík. Shortly after, the third sister Ásthildur Valtýsdóttir joined for singing duties temporarily and Serena Tideman replaced Gyda on cello, for a single european tour. By then the ensemble evolved to include Eiríkur Ólafsson and Hildur Guðnadóttir (who both had guest appearances on múm recordings from the beginning) and Ólöf Arnalds. In early 2006, Kristín also left the band after releasing and heavily touring the album Summer Make Good. Their fourth album recorded during 2006 was released in September 2007, entitled Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy.
múm has always worked on project which could be classed as unusual for a pop collective, among which is their own soundtrack for the classic Sergei Eisenstein film, Battleship Potemkin. Live performances of the score took them to film festival around the world. múm have also composed for theater, most notably two radio theater plays, winning the Nordic Radio-theater prize in 2005. The same year they were invited to Amsterdam by the Holland Festival to collaborate with the National Dutch Chamber Orchestra to create a performance piece based around various compositions of the late avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis for one of the centre piece shows at the festival. In Japan múm has worked with pop singers Aco and Tomoyo, writing and producing songs for both of these artists albums.
In August 2009 múm released there fifth full album Sing Along to Songs you don't Know and followed it with an extensive world tour, taking them all around Europe, to Russia, Japan, the US and Mexico. An almost whole year of touring ended in a spectacular show in Krakow, Poland where múm invited many of their friends and colleagues (Mugison, Sin Fang, Amiina, Jóhann Jóhannsson, former band member Gyða Valtýsdóttir and many more) to play along with them and the Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Polish Radio Choir for a spellbinding evening of music. The show was planned for release on DVD. In the summer of 2012 múm launched a compilation of early and rare recordings featuring 15 tracks recorded between 1998 and 2000 called Early Birds to very positive reviews. The album included a formerly unreleased fan favorite Hvernig á að særa vini sína which had featured in the film the Exploding Girl.
In 2012 múm were handpicked by Brian Eno to play Punkt festival in Kristiansand Norway, curated by the artist. The performance was remixed live in an adjacent room by Finnish artist Vladislav Delay. 2013 saw the release of múm’s sixth studio album entitled Smilewound and followed the album up with extensive tours in Asia and Europe. The album was nominated for the Nordic Music Prize the same year. In 2014 múm wrote new music for Teatr Miniatura’s staging of the Blue Planet by Andri Snær Magnason, who the band have collaborated extensively in the past.