YoshimiO / Susie Ibarra / Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe Flower of Sulphur
Published Mar 16, 2018This trio of experimental music stalwarts had been playing in various configurations prior to combining for their first group huddle in December of 2016. YoshimiO is a multi-instrumentalist well known for her membership in and leadership of outfits such as Boredoms, OOIOO, and SAICOBAB; Ibarra is a composer/improviser focused around the rhythmic possibilities of percussion; and Lowe, who also performs as Lichens, is a modern modular synth guru and vocal improviser whose explorations of the hypnagogic state involve movement and gesture. Together, these three are pure energy.
Recorded live in front of an audience in Brooklyn, Flower of Sulphur is a lengthy improvisational piece that is highly immersive and spellbinding. The ethereal nature of the group's unique dynamic takes hold immediately as "Aaa" is conjured into being. Slowly, a free jazz-like rhythm seeps into the forefront accompanied by vocal incantations.
The following two pieces — "Bbb" and "Ccc" — are more fully-formed but remain loose, ornamented with a mutant sheen emitted by the synths and vocals of Lowe and YoshimiO. The utterly mind-blowing middle passage of "ccc" is some of the most evocative free improv released this year, its relentless shriek haunting those it encounters.
Announcing its presence explosively, "Ddd" rounds out the proceedings with a bombast akin to the grand finale of a fireworks display. Flower of Sulphur — with its heady mix of the weird and the wild — is fire music at its finest. (Thrill Jockey)