Under the moniker Lichens, multi-instrumentalist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe explores the use of voice in the realm of spontaneous music.
The Brooklyn-based artist’s inaugural solo album, The Psychic Nature of Being, was released on Kranky in 2005, and he has registered a number of other works for Holy Mountain and HOSS Records. His recent limited-edition full length, Lítiõ Fólk (Morc Records, 2012), features artwork by the artist himself and develops around a worldless vernacular of deconstructed and a cappella folk-inspired melodic lines. Lowe also performs with avant-doom unit OM and contributed vocals and tambura to their albums God is Good and Advaitic Songs (Drag City, 2009, 2012). He has furthermore appeared on albums by Singer and Twilight.
Lichens’ recent live performances and recorded works have been developed around the pairing of singing with modular synth compositions. According to Lowe, the synthesis of organic vocal and analogue-derived expression creates a kind of ecstatic music in both live and recorded environments. Lowe’s relationship to music is inspired by composer Pauline Oliveros’ concept of “deep listening”, which proposes that concentrated emotional and corporeal attunement to sound can bring about transcendent and transformative experiences in listeners.
Lowe’s composition for Last Kind Words received the prize for Best Original Score at the Brooklyn Film Festival in 2012, and he has also begun integrating visual projections into his live performance via collaboration with artist Patrick Smith, such as the vector-driven animation piece, “Clouds”. He has also collaborated with a number of other artists, among them Tyondai Braxton, Kevin Martin, David Scott Stone, Genesis P-Orridge, Hisham Akira Bharoocha, Ben Vida, Alan Licht, Ben Russell, Ben Rivers, Doug Aitken, Patrick Smith, Lee Ranaldo, White/Light, Chris Johanson, and CTM 2014 featured band Lucky Dragons.