The rise of postrock (bringing forth such great bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor from Canada, World’s End Girlfriend from Japan, Mogwai from Scotland, Lampshade from Denmark, or Melmac from France (get one of their present-day rare sounds here)), and its sweeties Sigur Rós, gave birth to the immense popularity of the bowed guitar. It was, as to my knowledge, promoted by some as a new invention. Of course it was not, it just had been unpopular, although famous guitarists used it like, i.e., Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Mike Oldfield, or bassist Roger Waters from Pink Floyd. Maybe it’s like with Jackson Pollock’s dripping technique. He wasn’t the first using it, but he made it a medium, made it understandable as painting. Maybe it’s the same with the bowed guitar – I don’t know… Or it was a new and young generation never having heard the bowed guitar before, thus getting amazed by its grandeur. In postrock it works absolutely perfect. As you can convince yourself in listening to Sigur Rós’ “Untitled #8”.
By the way, according to wikipedia it was Eddie Phillips from The Creation in the song “Making Time” using it as one of the first guitarists.
Very danceable it is, isn’t it? To whomever Sigur Rós is to sweet and The Creation too frumpy, maybe you can come to terms with the gigantic death rock epigones Shadow Project. Eva O is the dark princess dominating her guitar with the bow in the hammer song “Zaned People” accompanying ingenious ravaging Rozz Williams.