29.12.10

Lawrence English 'A Colour For Autumn' LP (Sweat Lodge Guru/Digitalis, 2010)

Ahh... Lawrence English. I couldn't possibly take a stab at how many times I've listened to his 2008 album Kiri No Oto. The magic of that album has carried through onto A Colour For Autumn, also obtaining perennial status around here (and by 'here' I mean my bedroom). Originally this was issued on CD via Taylor Deupree's 12k label, then eventually materializing as this lovely vinyl co-release. Outside of his personal exploration in sound, English also runs the fantastic and refreshingly unpredictable Room40 imprint (recent 7"s by both Grouper and Tim Hecker).

Because of the nearly year-round temperate climate in Vancouver, any miniscule seasonal spike, whether it's a few degrees higher or a few degrees lower, suddenly becomes the talk of the town. This is always noticeable in the winter and summer months. The other eight months of the year seem to take on varying shades of grey. But, when the time comes around–and it always comes around–we are again reminded of the subtle beauty of seasonal change, like in spring blossoms or reddening autumn leaves. It is the subtleties of the evolving and decaying of seasons that is so evocative. The textures found within A Colour For Autumn elicit these subtleties as seven cyclical pieces. It's simple enough to draw loose metaphors between shifting ambient music and the changing seasons. That kind of thing can get really cliché really fast, so I'll keep it to a minimum. Clichés aside, I fully condone English's ode-to-the-seasons work, this one being especially worth the effort.

The opening track, Droplet, with its overlapping falsetto is stunning. This is the kind of thing that could give Music For Airports a run for its money. It's also the closest thing on the album to Kiri No Oto's hazy electronics. From here the album emerges from the blur a bit and steers more towards movements of finer texture and microtonalities. The music is left spare, often set around a trajectory of revolving drone fragments, the sounds all fluctuating in-and-around one another. Watching it Unfold, perhaps the most elegant track on the album, finds English incorporating immediately recognizable instrumentation, including horns and an acoustic guitar, into the mix. English's musical approach for the album works solely to his advantage, where crescendos emerge as rolling hills rather than mountains. A Colour For Autumn treads its languid course, with side B seeing the emergence of Ambarchi-esque bass hammering and an overall stronger feeling of decay. The disquieting murmur of ...And Clouds For Company concludes the album. Clocking in at just over half an hour it all seems over far too quickly. My suggestion: flip and repeat.



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