Perhaps better known for audio works on his own imprint, Room 40, and a series of live excursions which took in a good portion of Europe last year, Lawrence English makes his debut on Touch in the form of a drone piece, Kiri No Oto, which loosely translates as “the sound of fog.”
Perhaps “drone piece” is far too limited a description, as English’s tonal assemblages are complex, dense, stratified affairs, consisting of various forms of instrumentation, particularly organ- based drones, juxtaposing pointillist cascades of tonalism against a fabric of overtones and amorphous harmonics. These aural texturologies present us with no surprises, no hidden spectra, no glitch or fuss, just sheer minimalist bliss, ebbing and flowing in irridescent waves and crescendos.
Some of the sounds are infused with an edgy patina, the almost industrial overtones entering into White Spray come to mind, but these are quickly dissipated, filtered, and numbed, creating a fascinating dynamics of harsh and soft tones. These shifting, sedimentary layerings create areas rich in colour and texture that shine through on occasion, glimmers of sunlight filtered through the fog of texture, intriguing and beguiling at one and the same time. Figure’s Lone Static emerges as my track of choice, moving from soft pastel renderings, panning across the soundscape, that gradually swells and envelops the listener in a fully immersive and gritty tonal assault – wonderful stuff.
Touch have chosen well here, as Kiri No Oto acts in symbiosis with their organ based Spire releases of late, and also the work of label mate, Rosy Parlane could be a spiritual benefactor. Intelligent drones from an established and now highly influential figure on the minimalist scene..essential. BGN