September 10, 2005

Lichens "The Psychic Nature of Being"

Just because Lichens is the project of TV On The Radio/90 Day Men guitarist Robert A Lowe II, you should not expect it to sound like either of those bands. Lichens is so different from either band, one might not know of the connection based upon mere listening. The Psychic Nature of Being, Lichens' proper debut, constists of three slow, long and heavy soundscapes, all of which were improvised without overdubs. Though the three mostly consist of glacial-like drones, they are augmented with acoustic guitar and vocal manipuations, as well as other interesting little tidbits such as percussion and loops. The overall result sounds not unlike a John Carpenter film as scored by Brian Eno.

The first two pieces, "Kirlian Auras" and "Shore Line Scoring" are seemingly interchangable, as the drone doesn't differ all that much, and if you weren't paying attention, you would be hard-pressed to know where one ended and the other began. The first part of the twenty-minute "You Are Excrement If You Can Turn Yourself Into Gold," falls into the same category, but at the ten minute mark, Lowe ditches the drone in favor of guitar, synth, bells and what sounds like a very faint sitar. He incorporates all of these sounds for the next ten minutes, brining The Psychic Nature of Being to a beautiful, blissful conclusion.

Though Lichens is quite different than Lowe's previous and current bands, Lichens is still a beautiful and sometimes disturbing project. It will be interesting to see how he applies these ideas to the upcoming TV On The Radio album.

--Joseph Kyle

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