Being a quirky nine-piece co-ed band from Reykjavik, Iceland, GusGus were almost bound to inspire comparisons to the Sugarcubes, though a different decade caused the group to inherit the influences of electronic fuzz and trip-hop rhythms rather than the bout of post-punk lunacy that inspired the Sugarcubes during the late '80s. Formed as a cinema collective in early 1995 by filmmakers Stefán Árni and Siggi Kjartansson, the group was gradually expanded to include musicians such as DJ Herb Legowitz and programmer Biggi Thórarinsson, as well as singer/songwriters Daníel Ágúst, Hafdís Huld, and Magnús Jónsson (former actors all), cinematographer Steph, and producer Baldur Stefánsson. The band's decidedly indie sensibilities led to its signing by 4AD after a four-part series of dance mix EPs in 1996.
Among a handful of groups in the late '90s with access to both close-knit dance circles as well as the notoriously uptight indie community, the group gained support from LFO (with Mark Bell's remix of "Believe") and one of London's most celebrated DJ stores, Fat Cat Records, while playing its first date in England. Awarded a combined U.S./U.K. release due to 4AD's agreement with Warner Bros., GusGus' debut album, Polydistortion, hit international stores in April 1997. This Is Normal followed in 1999, and one year later the anthology release Gus Gus vs. T-World appeared. Released in 2002, Attention featured a slimmed-down band -- the lineup had been downsized to four members, all of them DJs -- and an appropriately focused sound. Mixed Live appeared a year later, and the group returned with new material in 2007, funneling its mix of acid-inspired synths and streamlined dance tracks into Forever. GusGus then linked with Cologne, Germany's Kompakt label, where they released 2009's sprawling 24/7 and 2011's relatively song-oriented Arabian Horse. ~ John Bush, Rovi
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