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'Candyman' Composer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe Sings, Scares The Body Electric

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Composer and sound artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, photographed during a screening of <em>Candyman</em> on Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
Bennett Raglin, Getty Images for Universal Pictu

Composer and sound artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, photographed during a screening of Candyman on Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.

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The original Candyman, a 1992 horror film with music by Philip Glass, was about a tragic, violent bogeyman with a giant hook in one arm, summoned whenever you say his name five times into a mirror. It takes place in the Cabrini-Green housing project – just four blocks from where Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, who composed the refracted score of the new film, lived when he moved to Chicago in 1995, playing with bands like The 90 Day Men.

Lowe sang and performed in various underground bands in Chicago and then Brooklyn while developing his own palette. Under the stage name Lichens, he uses modular synthesizers and the full spectrum of his voice; Johann Johannsson, the late Icelandic film composer, showcased Lowe's vocals in his scores for Sicario and Arrival. Also in their cohort was Hildur Guðnadóttir, the Oscar-winning composer of Joker. She describes Lowe as a "wizard."

"The way he approaches singing and creating," Oscar-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir says, "it's both like very thoughtful, but also very elemental. Like, what he sings and what he produces is coming very much from the gut, and you can just feel it in the way he sings. It's very magical."

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