This album wound up being my soundtrack to reading about New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane, and its bleak, ringing tones provided an unfortunately perfect setting for the horrible scene. Opener ?Kirilian Auras? in particular sets a doomy mood, with its initial ominous chanting eventually overwhelmed by swelling, but meditative, guitar figures. Each piece here features some combination of droning feedback and vigorous guitar picking, one fading into another just as you begin to get comfortable. It?s not as harsh or as sardonically gritty as the most experimental facets of John Fahey?s work, but the folk-blues roots of the acoustic guitar parts can?t help but be in thrall to Fahey and there?s nothing wrong with that.
Lichens is the solo project of Robert Lowe, a member of forward-thinking Chicago combo 90 Day Men and really-quite-famous combo TV on the Radio, but Lowe doesn?t hesitate to make this music ? all of it improvised on this release ? identifiably his own. The final piece, ?You Are Excrement If You Can Turn Yourself Into Gold,? contains a section of city noises that I listened to as I myself walked through the city, wondering if the music was becoming part of my experience or if I was becoming part of its. The trains I passed by and the train noises on the record were strangely congruent, as if life were being recorded and instantly played back. Lowe reclaims the moment with some decisive electric guitar tones, his ability to make absorbing art well established. 8/10 -- Sal Addays (19 September, 2005)