LAWRENCE ENGLISH IN TEXTURA
April 30 2009
In keeping with its title, A Colour For Autumn—the second in a seasons-themed series that follows the Baskaru release For Varying Degrees of Winter—is, yes, autumnal in tone and spirit. It's also my favourite collection to date by Australian sound artist Lawrence English, as it satisfies on multiple levels. Recorded in Brazil, Marseilles, Tasmania, Japan, and Brisbane and sourced from a mixture of instruments, field recordings, and electronics, A Colour For Autumn features seven "auditory portraits" that range from tranquil ambient meditations ("The Prelude To") to settings of brooding portent ("Galaxies of Dust") and vaporous synthesis ("… And Clouds For Company"). An ethereal choir of voices (courtesy of Dean Roberts) augments the dense thrum of "Droplet," part of which includes windswept field recordings gathered in Notre-Dame De La Garde in Marseilles. The peaceful "Watching It Unfold," by comparison, strips the sound down to incrementally intensifying ambient colourations and an anchoring piano motif that repeats throughout. With Christian Fennesz aboard to add his own subtle electronics shadings, the level of textural detail naturally increases in "The Surface of Everything." Here and elsewhere, English builds up luxuriant masses within which multiple sounds congeal into lulling wholes. Wistfulness pervades much of the material, as English distills into aural form the transitory nature of seasonal change, and specifically the melancholy that attends the annual shift from summer to fall. At the same time, contrasting impressions of autumn associated with the different recording locations emerge in the subtle contrasts of mood that differentiate one piece from another. The thirty-seven-minute running time sounds short but in fact feels just right for this kind of recording.