Born in France but rarely in one place for long, Ariel Kalma’s 1970s migrations took flight through the decade’s furthest spaces of musical and spiritual invention. As a hired horn for well-known French groups, the young musician toured as far as India in 1972, a place where Kalma found an antidote to rock n’ roll’s glitz and glamour in sacred music traditions. Kalma would later return to India and learn circular breathing techniques enabling him to sustain notes without pause against tape-looping harmonies configured through his homemade effects units.
Those effects evolved from Kalma’s loyalty to a beloved dual ReVox set-up— two tape machines “chained” together to form a primitive delay unit. Over looped saxophone melodies, Kalma would mix in all shades of polyphonic color, synthesizing fragments of poetry with ambient space or setting modal flute melodies to rippling drum machine patterns and starlit field recordings. The results collapse distinctions between “electro-acoustic”, “biomusicology” and “ambient” categorization.
In France during the mid-1970s, Kalma was staffed as a technician at Pierre Henry’s legendary Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM) studios – the same music concréte laboratory that spawned masterpieces by members Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, and Bernard Parmegiani. Like his predecessors and colleagues at INA GRM, Kalma’s relationship to sound was both formal and non-hierarchical. To Kalma, all music existed as universal patterns, in perfect harmony with the people, places and environments it was created.
An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972-1979), released on RVNG, Intl. in November 2014, compiles a selection of unheard recordings spanning a period of diverse productivity – from Kalma’s early explorations into free jazz and spoken word to his infinite modular synthesizer and rhythm-machine meditations.
In April, 2015, RVNG paired Kalma with synthesist and vocal drifter Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe for an unprecedented contribution to the FRKWYS series (FRKWYS Vol. 12: We Know Each Other Somehow). The extended compositions of Kalma and Lowe’s collaboration evoke the ambience – sonically and spiritually – of the environment in which they were created (Kalma’s home in Mullimbimby on the the eastern Australian coast) and of the friendship forged between the two artists. We Know Each Other Somehow is in keeping with Kalma’s ongoing commitment to transience / transcendence and to the possibilities of human and environmental connection.