RG Lowe - Slow Time
After ten years in the instrumental ensemble Balmorhea, Rob Lowe is releasing his first R&B-inflected solo LP, Slow Time, under the moniker RG Lowe. The record, while incorporating elements from pop and choral music, largely looks back on the warmth and spiritual ecstasy of early R&B through the disjunctive lens of contemporary life. Lowe, who plays keys, guitar, and provides the vocals on Slow Time, wrote and arranged about forty songs from 2014 to 2015 at his studio in Austin, TX, where he resides. He then headed to Philadelphia to record most of the album with producer Jeff Ziegler, whose raw and energetic production work on albums by Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs had inspired him. Though his wordless vocals appeared occasionally on Balmorhea's albums, on Slow Time we hear the impressive range and malleability of his voice as he glides from hymnal backing harmonies, to melismatic bridges, to punchy choruses and pained screeches that stretch his voice to its unbeliev able limits. Lowe bought an old Wurlitzer electric piano, and immediately recognized that it was just what he’d been looking for. The pleasantly conflicted tone of the Wurlitzer--its electrostatic bite and woozy warmth--provides the perfect backbone for an album filled with catchy, danceable tracks that conceal, on first listen, the wistful nature of the lyrics. Though the album’s lyrics focus on an extended transitional period in Lowe’s life in which a long-term relationship was ending, the album clings to a positive energy and sense of determined optimism. Slow Time is a lesson in contrast; drawing power from the tension between the warm, propulsive, lush arrangements of the music, and the darkness, introspection and confusion of the lyrics.