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Taking his alias from a reference to author Italo Calvino's story Luna e GNAC, in which the view from a family's apartment window shows the last four letters of a Cognac billboard, Manchester, England's Mark Tranmer began recording as Gnac in the mid-'90s. Influenced by Ennio Morricone and the Durutti Column's Vini Reilly, Tranmer's material is often soft, melodic, and cinematic. Gnac was first featured on the An Evening in the Company of the Vespertine compilation, followed by scattered singles for a number of small independent labels. The Vespertine label released Tranmer's first full album, Friend Sleeping, in 1999. That was quickly followed by a compilation of stray releases on Rocket Girl called Sevens. Then, for 2001's Biscuit Barrel Fashion, Alan McGee came into the picture and released the album on his Poptones label. Tranmer had fallen into McGee's radar thanks to a record by the Montgolfier Brothers, a side project of Tranmer's with Roger Quigley.