The melodies and soundscapes that emerge from the meshing of his guitar and processed vocals acknowledge some eastern influence, but also fall somewhere within the American folk tradition, wandering without being lost. The Psychic Nature of Being begs for a cerebral consideration of Lowe's music; the title of the songs and the mood established within bubble over with philosophical and mystical musings, each one equally appropriate for quiet meditation, writing, or sleeping. "Kirilian Auras," named after a controversial photographic technique that claims to capture auras on film, begins with the moan of electricity and life, slowly escaping the lungs and distorting in the air, fractured into phrases and loops that being to roll over one another. Soon Lowe adds his gentle guitar, it seems to mimic that vocal patterns crashing into one another, but it also offers a reference and a kind of solace in its easy rolling. The combination of his choral, digital sounds and his acoustic picking are hypnotizing, producing the image of rain falling, the soul escaping its shell, or the long journey between unfamiliar cities, the rhythm of walking and observing in accordance with peace. At times the flow of music sounds like the low piping of Japanese flutes and the whistle and bend of impossible instruments break over them, holding the composition in place and freezing the moment of music in an unshakable lift. The brilliantly titled "You Are Excrement If You Can Turn Yourself Into Gold" closes the disc and offers a glimpse of the eastern world Lowe surely must've envisioned in the process of creating this album. A guitar, played as though it were a gong being struck, tolls underneath the trill and snap of a slippery melody. Softly the piece fades into a nocturnal scene, populated by bells and the easy manner of evening activities. Lowe builds the song into an echoed mesh of melody, noise, and simple flucuations until its weaving body harmonizes as a constant in and of itself. Nothing could be removed or added from the song, as it stands it is the perfect picture of a misty landscape and does nothing short of photograph peace as a movement. It isn't meant to be gold, it's object isn't to be beautiful, but to be. Thus Lowe avoids excrement and utility and ascends to pure music, reaching for an essence and doing everything possible to represent it as something any ear will find familiar. It might be argued that drones have little else to do but die away as a tried and true means of recording the ephemeral happenings missed by so many, but Lowe's use of the constant sound is something else; when his tones are stretched out, they do more than just provide a space for sound, they mix intimately with his more musical work and create a sound that's entirely unique and far more deserving of the association with old America and its story-telling tradition than any other "weird" American outfit. In fact, the term "lichen" refers to symbiosis, relationships of mutual benefit. To achieve the level of intimacy he has on this record without lyrics requires a level of sophistication and nuance, and that is exactly what Lowe has done on his debut by mixing and considering two very different worlds and finding that they aren't so distant.
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