Review: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe meets Harry Bertoia

First published in the Guardian on 17 August, 2017

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: Levitation Praxis Pt 4
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (DDS)

Harry Bertoia designed furniture — most famously wire chairs, amorphic and functional — but he also built sound sculptures and left a collection of huge pieces in a converted ‘sonambient’ barn in Pensilvania. These metal rods and gongs and look majestic, a cross between mid-century modern art and Fingal’s Cave, and they can be played as vast resonating instruments. So when New York’s Museum of Arts and Design commissioned polymath composer/vocalist/drone metal artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe to respond to a Bertoia exhibition and gave him full access to the barn, he came up with a stunningly immersive album in which he weaves through the sculptures and makes them throb, shimmer and sing. He sings himself, too, high and eerie, and the effect is ghostly and lush, untethered and earthbound. Bertoia himself made plenty of recording with these sculptures but Lowe makes them, and the space, his own.