*200 copies limited release* In the opening moments of Grasshopper Republic, composer and sound artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Candyman / Master / Telemarketers) soundtracks images of hands rubbing, counting, and exchanging thousands and thousands of Uganda banknotes are juxtaposed with a heap of grasshoppers escaping or overflowing from a hole in a woven basket. Underscoring this is a rising tide of crystalline tones that hover from the high frequencies of the right into the deafened space of the left ear before resolving on top of low resonant horns that recede into silence. An offscreen voice explains in the next scene: “No one knows where the grasshopper comes from, but I can tell you, they come from clouds.”
In the film, nocturnal ambient buzzing fills in the space between 'Cold Open Commerce' and 'Becoming,' which slowly rises the fore in parallel with a waning crescent moon. Lowe’s falsetto voice spills over thumping staccato beats and stacked horns that ring throughout the stereo field. His compositions often inhabit both a physical and mental space in search for a blending of structure and improvisation. Grasshopper Republic’s director Daniel McCabe first saw Lowe performing at Basilica SoundBath in 2021, later approaching him to score the film. “He was really fascinated by the sound that I was creating with the modular synthesizer and my voice and also how I was inhabiting the space, to create a space within a space and understand the atmosphere that we were all existing in at that moment,” Lowe explains that there’s a latent correlation between the way that he approaches music and how the film was made.
Grasshopper Republic was shot over three years with a keen intention to “catch the swarm.” “For them it was very labor intensive to be in that situation, they were right there with the trappers doing all the work in preparation for the swarm in the thick of it the entire time.” Lowe is interested in what he calls the “environmentally circumstantially” that both the viewer and the film crew are thrust into as an active observer in space. “You are also feeling the energy of that space,” he adds, “that psychic energy is washing over you in real time.”