Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - Levitation Praxis Pt 4 LP
Label: Demdike Stare
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe's incredible experiments with Harry Bertoia's sound sculptures are here documented on Levitation Praxis Pt 4 - a beautiful recording for Demdike Stare's DDS imprint.
Lowe is something of a polymath. Having started out as part of math rock outfit 90 Day Men and doom metal trio Om, he progressed to forge his own solo work (often under the Lichens moniker), as well as a whole slew of collaborations, including work with Johann Johannsson and Ariel Kalma, plus active involvement in site-specific video art and sound installations.
In 2016, Lowe was commissioned by New York's Museum of Arts and Design to contribute to the Harry Bertoia retrospective. He was asked to create sound recordings with Sonambient sculptures - metal rods and gongs that produce highly distinct, resonant sounds when struck, brushed or touched. Beginning in 1968, Bertoia set up an eighteenth-century stone barn on his property in Barto, Pennsylvania, to house these sculptures and from which he would go on to record works for his highly collectable Sonambient label, as recently documented on Important Records' breathtaking box set and reissue series. Lowe was given full access to the barn, and Lowe's work with these sculptures is quite unlike anything you might have heard from those original Bertoia recordings. Instead of serendipitous improvisation, Lowe weaves his way through the sculptures on a path that was mapped out in advance, imbuing them with a more "composed" and arranged feel. As well as that familiar and distinct sound palette, he subtly manipulates and feeds in vocal layers that take proceedings into ever more ethereal and haunting dimensions.