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‘We Know Each Other Somehow’ is a collection of original compositions by Robert Aiki Aubery Lowe (aka Lichens) and French born, multi genre composer Ariel Kalma. Recorded in a remote area on the outskirts of the Eastern Australian coast, the album consists of two electronic synthesised compositions of ambient spiritual exploration.

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FRKWYS Vol. 12: We Know Each Other Somehow by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe & Ariel Kalma
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9/10 Jim Staff review, 17 April 2015

Here’s a rather special meeting of two kindred musical­ spirits set up as an inter-generational collaboration for the FRKWYS series. Rob Lowe used to play in 90 Day Men and has since released solo modular synthesizer drone records as well as otherworldly processed vocal music as Lichens; he also provides the tambura/vocal drones for stoner/doom legends Om. Ariel Kalma’s musical travels over the last four decades have taken him from his Parisian roots and studies with Pierre Henry’s Groupe de Researches Musicales, a stint with avant-rock legend Richard Pinhas, meetings with Terry Riley and a close friendship with boundary traversing Jazz traveler Don Cherry- all this activity interspersed with travels through Asia and the Middle East and spiritual studies with the Arica school (whose consciousness expanding philosophies inspired Alejandro Jodoworky).

The music here was recorded at Kalma’s home studio in a remote location on the East Australian coast. Straight off from the 17 minute opener ‘Magic Creek’, the influence of the specific location on the music is clear. It starts with a immersive field recording of running water and strange bird calls, which seems to expand in depth to include hypnotic insect sounds that pulsate across the stereo field as Lowe’s circling synth tones and Kalma’s solemnly measured saxophone lines draw us deeper into an amazingly heady sound excursion.

There are a few points on the record where the sheer new-ageneses of proceedings gets uncomfortably close to the knuckle for my tastes- but luckily the duo tend to veer away from the more conventional tropes of ‘spiritual’ ambient music, preferring to take their sounds along less travelled paths. A good example is ‘Wasp Happening’ which starts with rich buzzing Raga drones under an evolving cosmic synth melody; a blissful drift that evaporates into beautifully alien particles of luminous tonal fragments towards its finale. Absolutely stunning.


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