Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: Mind Kontrol

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: Mind Kontrol cover

Self-release, 2020

Lowe released this collection of pieces recorded between 2016 and 2019 on June 5, one of the Fridays Bandcamp waived its fees to support artists and labels during the pandemic. (The next and possibly final day is July 3.) Lowe donated his proceeds to the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts collective, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and Gays & Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society, all organizations worthy of support.

My first encounter with Lowe’s work was a mesmerizing 2014 Lampo A/V performance in Chicago. Lowe’s modular synthesizer pieces are textured yet precise. On the 16-minute “Pavla Vlasova vs. Institute of Paranormal Studies” a tight cluster of percussive notes move over squelchy bursts. Drawn-out chords moan and shift like wind through organ reeds, then fade away as the electronic rhythms intensify. “Stixus” is a propulsive dub with an irresistible bassline. A third of the way through, clipped gongs and pulses reinforce the feeling of a train ride. The track proves you don’t need a kick drum to dance.

The short, muted “Four Into Three (4 – 3)” is a pause of sorts. Its bassy syncopated pulses suggest uneasy breathing. On “Rex-L-4,” Lowe combines an industrial bass drum with repeating notes in an unconventional scale, like a tape gone askew. “Glissade” slowly reveals bluesy piano over hand drums, like a jam session overheard from an adjacent room. There’s something soothing and familiar about this entire album. It’s the perfect soundtrack to a summer evening, windows open to a breeze.

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