TS09 – Lawrence English “Incongruous Harmonies”

7″ vinyl only, not available for digital download
Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

A: Without Sanctuary 4:59
B: One Thousand Miles of White 4:24

These pieces were composed for Circa’s Regarding the Joy of Others.

Recorded and produced at 158, Brisbane, 09/09-01/10

Lawrence English is media artist, composer and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. He utilises a variety of mediums including live performance, audio/visual environments, found sound/vision to create his work that typifies his interests in creating experiences that create subtle transformation of space and ask audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception. English’s work over the past decade, both in performative and gallery settings, has earned him a strong reputation as one of the unique voices producing sound artworks from within Australia. He has presented concerts and installed pieces for numerous festivals including Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Observatori (Spain), Outro_Rio (Brazil), Unsound (Poland) and AltMusic (New Zealand) amongst others. He also curates the burgeoning ROOM40 imprint, the Someone Good label and organises numerous events and festival throughout Oceania. His solo album, Kiri No Oto [Touch # Tone 31] was released in 2009 and has been described variously as “gorgeous”, “A great piece of subconscious architecture” and “sublime”.


Boomkat (UK):

The pieces on this latest Touch 7″ were composed by Room40 label boss Lawrence English for a performance by avant-garde Australian circus group Circa for their Regarding The Joy Of Others performance. The event involved the transformation of Brisbane’s Gasometer from an imposing industrial presence to the backdrop for a unique trapeze act by Chelsea McGuffin. Accompanying this, English set about spinning some of his signature electronic tones and noise signals designed to allow the audience to “experience the woman’s pain and sheer joy”. Devoid of that context the two compositions (‘Without Sanctuary’ and ‘One Thousand Miles Of White’) remain pertinent drone works, making for an apt companion to his Kiri No Oto album (also on Touch). Expect windblown drifts of static, searing jetstream sounds and hints at grainy, veiled field recordings. Amazing.

Aquarius (USA):

One of two new Touch singles this week, this mysterious batch of ‘incongruous harmonies’ comes from Australian composer / sound artist / musician Lawrence English, and these two tracks were both composed and recorded for an installation called Regarding The Joy Of Others, and are both mysterious and amorphous, textural and abstract. The first is a series of gritty washes, deep swells pocked with streaks of crumble and crackle, buried melodies glowing from within a softly heaving surface of burnished thrum and muted static, bleary and blurred and subtly smeared, a gorgeous soundscape of indsitinct harmony, quite Jeck-ian in fact, something very lovely, disguised by a gauze of soft noise, the two elements not competing so much as bleeding into one another and becoming a hauntingly beautiful melody infused, slowly unfurling buzz.

The flipside peels back some of the grit and grime, leaving something more serene and a bit more ambient, a darkened landscape of distant churning rumbles, shot through with shards of looped high end, almost like a mellowed out Wolf Eyes, but it’s not really all that mellow, it’s still ominous, and tense, and a bit haunting, a sprawling dronemusic that subtly throbs and pulses with some implied rhythm, while layer upon layer shift and overlap and intertwine, the track actually growing less and less dark, the low end fading away, leaving just the mysterious keening high end warble to drift like some alien distress call. So cool.
And like with all Touch releases, super striking design and layout by Touch boss Jon Wozencroft.

The Wire (UK):

A couple of swell, drone based pieces composed by the Australian sound artist. The tracks were apparently commissioned as soundtrackery for some sort of art-circus performance in Brisbane, but the pure sonics, as presented here, are quite rewarding. There’s a slight metallic glisten to the proceedings, which billow in and out of focus, like a chorus singing somewhere on the other side of a very busy airport. [Byron Coley]

Hawai (Chile):

Dos de los últimos lanzamientos del sello británico Touch son estos, parte de la serie Touch Seven, discos que nacen del amor por los singles y por el vinilo. Estos trabajos solo aparecen en formato pequeño: siete pulgadas, dos caras, todos unidos por un mismo artwork, variando tan solo los colores y las fotografías que los ilustra, siempre a cargo de Jon Wozencroft. El número diez de la serie corre a cargo de dos músicos conocidos del label londinense. Uno es Philip Jeck, conocido turntablelista que iniciara a principios de los ochenta, usando viejos discos y reproductores, la mayoría a punto de ser desechados. Su relación con Touch comienza con “Loopholes” (Touch, 1995) y se prevé para el verano europeo un nuevo disco. El otro es Marcus Davidson, tecladista y compositor que ha trabajado para danza y teatro, además de ser parte de Spire, un proyecto ligado a Touch y basado en música generada por órganos. este 7” los une en dos exquisitas piezas. Grabado en vivo en una presentación que tuvo lugar en el Museo de Historia del Jardín, en Londres, el 8 de Mayo de 2009, Jeck y su reproductor y un bajo (sobrepuesto) y Davidson y su teclado crean dos piezas fluorescentes y en pleno florecimiento. “London Tenderberry”, la cara A, nos ofrece unos sonidos sintetizados en expansión, unos drones suaves venidos del espacio interior. “Tenderberries Version” parte del mismo punto en quedo el anterior, siguiendo los mismos patrones, pero aún más expansivos, casi se diría que cósmicos, apuntalado por unas pocas notas de piano. Ambos temas más que sonar, se arrastran. Serían el acompañamiento perfecto para un documental que mostrara el brote de unas flores en toda su magnificencia natural, unas flores de color rojo intenso, las mismas de la portada. “Trains of blossom, trains of music”.

El otro lanzamiento es “Incongruous Harmonies”, y corre por cuenta del australiano Lawrence English, como saben ya, el jefe de Room40. Hace dos temporadas atrás se estrenó en Touch con el largo “Kiri No Oto” (2008) [039], y en este single presenta dos piezas para el grupo Circa y su obra ‘Mirando el placer de los otros’. Este, como la obra a la que acompaña, fue diseñado para ‘experimentar el dolor de una mujer y la pureza del placer’, y al menos en la música alcanza un gran nivel de intensidad. Como en ese citado trabajo, English continua expandiendo el ruido hasta acercarlo a la belleza más pura, a través de melodías monotonales, corrientes de basura sonora estática, restos de sonidos que se esparcen por el ambiente, formando parte de una gran masa drónica de no más de diez minutos. Ambas piezas llegan a resplandecer, y sus armonías logran brillar, pese a estar ocultas en este magma de impurezas. La primera parte, “Without Sanctuary”, parece ser una capa de ruido coral, y una y otra más sobre ella, escondiendo una sencilla y preciosa melodía. “One Thousand Miles Of White” son precisamente mil millas de (ruido) blanco y suave, grabado otras mil millas adentro del mar, uno de los sonidos a los que más recurre English, y siempre con una melodía muy en el fondo. Ambos trabajos son una buena forma de resumir someramente el espíritu del sello, y ambos contienen piezas que justo por ser de una duración corta, son aún más refrescantes, dentro del gratificante exceso al que muchas veces se llega. “Spliced” una agradable muestra de música floral, e “Incongruous Harmonies” es, desde ya, uno de los singles de lo que va de este año.