Release Date: Jul 22, 2014
Record label: Room40
Can noise feel political? Or at least incite the desire to be awake to the political? There’s a sense of rage and restlessness to the latest from prolific Australian soundscaper Lawrence English. In an interview with The Seventh Hex, English describes Wilderness of Mirrors as “something of a soundtrack to wake those from their slumber before the nightmare becomes real, instead of imagined,” and later as a record “for those who are awake. ” This is an idea he explored with Liz Harris (Grouper) on last year’s self-titled debut as Slow Walkers, wherein we listless listeners were rendered as zombies, marchers en masse clueless but for cannibalism.
“The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours” ~ T. S. Eliot, Gerontion It’s probably fair to say that Australian sound artist, and Room40 label head, Lawrence English’s recent releases haven’t quite lived up to the high standard he set on the 2008-09 trio of Kiri No Oto, It’s Up to Us to Live and A Colour for Autumn.
The genre of dark ambient/drone (both terms which struggle to accurately convey much of the music they are used to describe) has always been a highly personal form, with artists often working in isolation and to modest recognition and reward in producing music that captures a particular time, feeling or idea. Over the last 15 years composer and sound artist Lawrence English has been a key, if understated, presence within this musical scene, releasing albums on some of the most respected and experimental labels of the genre – Touch, 12k, Experimedia and Important amongst others. Latest album Wilderness Of Mirrors however sees him return to Room40, the label he heads up from his base in Brisbane, Australia.
Australian sound artist Lawrence English is responsible for the existence of a daunting number of recordings. As the founder of the Room40 label, he curates contemporary ambient and experimental music by the likes of Mike Cooper, Ben Frost, Grouper, Tim Hecker, Greg Davis, Oren Ambarchi, and David Toop, and English makes the same kind of music he releases—in abundance. The selected discography on his website runs to more than 30 items.
Abstract or instrumental music is often described as cinematic, but it’s a term that can be problematic. For the sake of argument, a definition of the word as applied to music might incorporate a tendency to follow narrative arcs, expansiveness, expressive mood, and physicality. In that regard, Lawrence English’s latest album Wilderness of Mirrors fits the descriptor well.