French-born Ariel Kalma’s boundary-blurring electronic music spans free-jazz and spoken word trips to his infinite modular synthesizer and analogue drum machine meditations, often laden with wistful sax melodies. A pioneer in the field of modularly synthesized electronic music, Kalma finds an ideal collaborator in Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, who has gained renown for hypnotic modular and voice improvisations as Lichens. The two electronic synth voyagers came together recently at the invitation of Matt Werth, an intergenerational collaboration that yielded the duo’s recent LP, We Know Each Other Somehow, (2015) on the RVNG label’s FRKWYS imprint. Traveling along parallel paths until now, together these artists summon another world, merging the collective voice with their own.
Born in France but rarely in one place for long, Ariel Kalma’s 1970s migrations took flight through the decade’s furthest spaces of musical and spiritual invention. As a hired horn for well-known French groups, the young musician toured as far as India in 1972, where he would later return to immerse himself in sacred music traditions. Kalma loyally worked with dual ReVox set-up— two tape machines “chained” together to form a primitive delay unit. Over looped saxophone melodies, Kalma would mix in all shades of polyphonic color, synthesizing fragments of poetry with ambient space or setting modal flute melodies to rippling drum machine patterns and starlit field recordings. The results collapse distinctions between “electro-acoustic”, “biomusicology” and “ambient” categorization.
In France during the mid-1970s, Kalma was staffed as a technician at Pierre Henry’s legendary Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM) studios – the same music concréte laboratory that spawned masterpieces by members Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, and Bernard Parmegiani. Like his predecessors and colleagues at INA GRM, Kalma’s relationship to sound was both formal and non-hierarchical. To Kalma, all music existed as universal patterns, in perfect harmony with the people, places and environments it was created.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (b. 1975) is an artist and composer who works with his voice in the realm of spontaneous music most often under the moniker of Lichens. Creating patch pieces with modular synthesizer and tonal vocal work has been a focus of live performances and recordings recently. The quality of sound achieved through the marriage of synthesis and the voice have allowed for a heightened physicality in the way of ecstatic music both in live and recorded settings. The sensitivity of analogue modular systems echoes the organic nature of vocal expression, which in this case is meant to put forth a trancelike state to usher in a mode of deeper listening. His works on paper tend towards human relations to the natural/magical world and the repetition of motifs.
2015 will see a collaboration with Jóhann Jóhannsson, theatre/installation based work with artist Alexandra Wolkowicz, and a focus on video synthesis. Robert has collaborated with Ben Russell, Ben Rivers, Sabrina Ratté, Rose Lazar, Nicolas Becker, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Tarek Atoui, Evan Calder Williams, Lucky Dragons, Alexandra Wolkowicz, Biba Bell, ADULT, Doug Aitken, and Rose Kallal, as well as many others.