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The perfect mix of electronic cool and pop sensitivity

The Swords Project
S.W. Third and Burnside
Sunday, 9 p.m.
21+ w/ID

When a band gains in popularity, good or bad things can happen. For Icelandic quartet m퀌_m (moom), which plays Sunday at Dante’s, it’s been a little of both.

The bad started when their record label sold a song to an ad agency for a television commercial without asking permission. The label, Thule Musik, continued their devious practices by releasing a likewise unauthorized m퀌_m remix album.

That was a couple of years ago. Since then it’s been basically good. The band ditched Thule and a second, “official,” remix album was released on Germany’s Morr Musik label.

M퀌_m was eventually picked up by England’s Fat Cat Records for its latest release, Finally we are no one.

And then there’s a little thing like superstar country-mate Bj퀌_rk making an appearance at their record release party in Reykjavik.

While the band – sisters Gya and Krist퀌_n Valtsd퀌_ttir, ����rvar Sm퀌�rason, Gunnar Tynes – downplayed the Bj퀌_rk thing in the press, they must be pleased. We’re talking superstar status in their native land.

It comes as no surprise the epitome of postmodern divadom would dig this band – their music is the perfect mix of electronic cool and pop sensitivity. This is a band that worked out a good chunk of its latest in an abandoned lighthouse, and the lonely, wayward feeling we might associate with an out-of-use outpost only accessible by rowboat comes through in the soundscape that is Finally we are no one.

The experimentation in locale doesn’t end there. Last year the band performed at a public pool in Reykjavik.

This wasn’t an attempt at community building; it was more like an extra-sensory experience.

Utilizing U.S. Navy-issue underwater speakers on loan from the city, the group set up behind the pump house where they couldn’t be observed. Attendees were forced to swim in order to hear the music.

Add to that Sm퀌�rason’s and Tynes’ work scoring children’s theater, the group as a whole backing up a poet on record and more recently doing a live soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein’s groundbreaking 1925 silent film “Battleship Potemkin” at the Brooklyn Lyceum, and you have a group of musicians that likes to keep things interesting.

One smarmy record label couldn’t keep these folks down – let’s hope it’s all good from here on out.

Opening up the show will be a rare live set from Portland’s E*ROCK, followed by the ever-popular Portland seven-piece The Swords Project. E*ROCK’s been in the studio for a while, working up material for a new record, so be sure to arrive early to catch the next wave of American electronic music before you get swept up in the sound of m퀌_m.