046 — Black History: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe   |   2 Comments

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 — Black History: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens)

In honor of Black History Month, Las Cruxes has invited several friends and colleagues of color, to highlight their story and share some of their favorite and influential music made by Black artists.

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe was born in Kansas City, Missouri, experiencing the punk and music scenes of his hometown through the 80's and 90's. Today he's an artist and multi-instrumentalist, whose work ranges from hypnotic solo modular synth and voice explorations as Lichens, to playing in heavy metal group Om.

We are pleased to welcome Robert to the program with a Q&A, followed by a mix focused on floating through a wide variety of dreamlike states — some being spiritual and uplifting, others nightmarish, to which he states:
"I suppose partially how I relate to my own black experience. The vibes carry from Tuareg guitar music to club music to gospel to noise to psychedelia to jazz and on, ending on the Black National Anthem."

Firstly, what shaped your passion to start music?
When I was 12 I would go to a local record store blocks from my house and rummage through the cassette bins. One day a clerk at the shop noticed I was looking at REM and They Might Be Giants cassettes and handed me Bad Brains "I Against I". He told me I might be into it, and if I wasn't to bring it back and he would buy it off of me. That record sent me spiraling down the wormhole that is punk music. Within a years time I decided that my best foot forward was to start making my own music, with my own voice.

And with that, your music career has been extensive, each project sonically different and varied. Do prefer to be transitory and navigate each as it comes?
It's important for me to explore the world at large as widely as I possibly can. To limit myself to a "style" or to work within classifications I find reductive. That's not to say that each project should not have parameters, I think there should be limits to each approach to individual works. I find that limiting control and self editing makes for the strongest output. Challenging one's self by stepping out of comfort zones pushes you to exercise different parts of the brain, which can be extraordinarily beneficial. But to say I do one thing better than another lessens the overall body of work. I stand behind the work that I make all around. It is for all intents and purposes my history.

Besides yourself, who knows you best?
That would be my wife.

To you, what does it mean for a black artist to be creating in the context of todays’s conversations of race and ethnicity?
To investigate and reference the past. To be present and aware of the environment around you and embrace the natural and emotional responses to the circumstances that will be the day to day. To take those experiences and create a new personal language to put back out into the world, and step forward into the future.

What ways can non-black people and allies help communities of color?
To help provide resources such as proper educational opportunities and give black communities the space to understand our own history and position in this world.
And to check and understand what their perception of the black community is, because more often than not it will be rooted in fear or that we are inferior, which by no stretch of the imagination is accurate. Solidarity comes through first understanding the self and where one comes from and cherishing that place, followed by a willingness to be open to discover others and where they come from.

A record you never tire of?
Alice Coltrane "Journey to Satchidananda"

What are you listening to?
Ryuichi Sakamoto "Esperanto"

What are you reading?
England's Hidden Reverse by David Keenan

Last movie you watched?
Black Panther

If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would it be?
Albert Ayler

Any exciting projects or endeavors lined up for 2018?
I am currently collaborating with Yoshimio and Susie Ibarra and will be doing performances this year in as a part of a UK art grant I am receiving in June. We have just released a record titled "Flower of Sulphur" on Thrill Jockey.

Are there any black-affiliated causes, charities or organizations you want to shout-out or raise awareness for?
The Black Infinity, which is a network for creative opportunities for people of color.

Photo © Nathan Perkel

*For more information please visit Robert on — Instagram | Twitter

1. Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble - Breath of Life
2. Zazou Bikaye - Lamuka
3. Mamman Sani - Bodo
4. Equiknoxx - Sent For Ducklings Got Ducks
5. Croww - Croww Takes Chino, Conrad and Mayhem on a Walk thru the Garden (Final)
6. Fatou Seidi Ghali & Alamnou Akrouni - Telilit
7. Geng x Moor Mother - This Week
8. Actress - Falling Rizlas
9. Russell E.L. Butler - I'm Dropping Out Of Life
10. Theo Parrish - Tympanic Warfare
11. The Wailers Band - Higher Field Marshall
12. Fugi - Red Moon
13. The Young Senators - Ringing Bells Pt. 2
14. The Voices of East Harlem - Right On Be Free
15. The Spencer Jackson Family - Bring Back Peace To The World pt. 1
16. Ray Bryant - Up Above the Rock
17. Wu-Tang Clan - Stick Me 4 My Riches (Wu-Tang Exclusive)
18. Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette
19. Merry Clayton - Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem)