"We Know Each Other Somehow" is the twelfth volume of FRKWYS, the music, film, and event series celebrating intergenerational collaboration. For this installment, RVNG Intl. offers a collection of original compositions by Robert Aiki, Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma.
Recorded just outside of Mullimbimby, a remote community on the eastern Australian coast, We Know Each Other Somehow pairs two electronic synth voyagers for six extended evocations of environmental ambience and entrancing naturalism.
In the four decades since Ariel Kalma’s debut album, the privately pressed Le Temps des Moissons, the French-born musician has circulated corners of culture now legend: intrepid excursions as a spiritual explorer through India and New York in the 1970s, a studio staff position at the Groupe de Researches Musicales (Pierre Henry’s famous music-concrete laboratory at INA studios), and training with music / mind / meditation institute Arica.
The genesis of this FRKWYS collaboration was inspired in part by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s first release under his own name, the widely regarded full-length Timon Irnok Manta, released for Type in 2012. The album paired two strobing, drone-oriented pieces in an uncategorizable combine of ambient synthesizer-music and pulsing rhythms. Lowe also performs his vocal-based compositions as Lichens and is a frequent collaborator with Om and Nurse With Wound.
Chance travel landed Lowe and Kalma in San Francisco at the same time shortly after the collaboration idea was seeded. Upon meeting, Kalma was endeared by Lowe’s unique set-up, a portable modular synth unit housed in a vintage luggage case. Kalma recalled his own adventures when he traveled with just a Revox tape-delay machine and saxophone.
Plans were soon settled to record in Kalma’s home studio in Main Arm around Lowe’s serendipitous Australian tour dates with Om. The pastoral life that Kalma had settled into eons earlier vastly informed the character of the recording. Similarly mined by Ariel Kalma in his 1978 album "Osmose", itself a collaboration with sculptor Richard Tinti, field recordings are embraced throughout "We Know Each Other Somehow" as a key harmonic and timbral element with which to adorn.
Described by Lowe in the liner notes as the “collective voice,” these birdsongs, creeks, tributaries and other ambient sonics of Main Arm appear throughout the album in processed and pure form. Wind instruments and signal sources are modulated, modified and sustained ad infinitum, cohering the choir of mother earth with the collaborators’ own.
"We Know Each Other Somehow" is accompanied by a feature length exploratory documentary based on the collaboration. Titled Sunshine Soup and directed by multitalented designers / artists Misha Hollenbach and Johann Rashid, the non-linear film is keyed to the outer-boundary music created by Lowe and Kalma.
Hollenbach and Rashid captured extensive footage surrounding the recording of "We Know Each Other Somehow". Using handheld HD and 8 mm cameras, they later processed the images with a Fairlight Computer Video Instrument (CVI). With its responsive, meditative perspectives and refracted, sun-bleached compositions, Sunshine Soup becomes the visual companion to the transformative musical principles explored throughout the collaborative album.
Following up his 2014 archival collection "An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings 1972 – 1979)", Kalma found an ideal collaborator in Lowe and an ideal opportunity to innovate in the field of modularly synthesized electronic music which he helped pioneer. Voyaging along parallel paths until now, "We Know Each Other Somehow" shows these artists summoning another world in an otherworldly part of the planet, merging the collective voice with their own.