Raymond Pettibon whipped up the cover for Lowflow, Thomas Fehlmann’s 2004 electronic instrumental foray on California’s Plug Research label. Ask your neighborhood Black Flag advocates about Pettibon and they’ll tell you about the covers of Slip it In or My War or any other of Black Flag’s classic punk LPs and Pettibon’s importance to them. His work was as much a part of Black Flag as guitarist Greg Ginn was. Pettibon is still keeping company with strange, compelling and interesting sounds. Fehlmann might not be doing a version of “Wasted” here, but Lowflow seems to come together just as well.
Having gained kudos for his work as a floating member of the Orb and a producer for acts including Serge Gainsbourg and Erasure, Fehlmann compiled Lowflow during his downtime over the past few years. The album’s balance is drawn between lazy electronic beats and slightly more upbeat fare. The tracks with quicker tempos come close to dance-floor fare but remain interesting, morphing animals throughout.
He enlists Ghostly hotshot Dabyre for three of the shortest tracks with great success. “Interstellar,” “Intertwine” and “Intersect” boast atonal noise bursts and tech-y clicks around sleepy beats. Great moments push (or spring) toward the surface in “Alice Springs,” where looming synths accent a weed comedown before midway through, where everything breaks off for only seconds, and it’s Fehlmann’s growling isolated bass and drone. He finds a lot of worth in static and background noise and often implements such elements to disturb his otherwise narcoleptic, groovy backdrops. Sip the Triaminic and get dizzy, dizzy.