LAWRENCE ENGLISH

INTERVIEW: LAWRENCE ENGLISH: CHICAGO READER (2010)

LAWRENCE ENGLISH Lawrence English doesn't make the same record twice. In 2009 this sound artist from Brisbane, Australia, released two CDs, and the lushly layered, pastoral drones on A Colour for Autumn (12K/Digitalis) feel as different from the brutally distorted digital stutters and blunt, bassy blasts on It's Up to Us to Live (Sirr) as a baptism does from a funeral. And neither sounds much like the weave of plush keyboard tones, lyrical guitar figures, and distant insect voices on A Path Less Traveled, a collaboration with the Japanese quartet Minamo that he just put out on his own Room 40 label. English has also recently published a book called Site Listening (Room 40), which tweaks the notion of sightseeing by mapping out 17 "listening locations" around Brisbane. One quality that unifies English's work is his unerring instinct for vivid evocation, which renders potentially abstract material compellingly concrete—on Path, wildlife sounds from a place you've never been can feel like a deeply personal memory. He also has a tendency to undermine the hierarchies by which the ear organizes what it hears, so that the things we usually tune out—bugs, bushes, breezes—become just as important as more conventionally musical material. He'll use both field recordings and instrumental sounds in this performance,
his Chicago debut. David Daniell opens. 7 PM, Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N. Ravenswood, 773-769-1069, $10 suggested donation, $7 students and ESS members. —Bill Meyer
Lawrence English