Review of A Colour For Autumn [12k1052]

Mess +Noise (AU)

Everything operates in slow motion on A Colour For Autumn. Slight note progressions glide down through the tonal breeze, cradling gently in the reverberated air. Sparkling tones cluster and illuminate larger, deeper rooted elements, streaming through the dark sonic canopy and piercing focus like lens flare. English’s dedication to calm and gradual change is often unnerving, but autumn is the precursor to winter, so naturally A Colour For Autumn isn’t without a sense of foreboding.

This is English’s second album in a four-part series that aims to “trace the experience of seasonal transit”. He’s drawn inspiration from locations as far as France and as close as his native Brisbane here, but unlike some of his recent work, English doesn’t rely heavily on field recordings. There are traces though, as on album opener “Droplet” (featuring New Zealander Dean Roberts), but they’ve either been heavily treated or are too peripheral to form a sense of place.

There is a distinct sense of environment though. A dewy fertility permeates A Colour For Autumn, and like the most indulgent and panoramic of landscape paintings there’s nothing challenging about this music; it’s quite content to fulfil the terms of its concept and sound utterly gorgeous while doing so. Even during Christian Fennesz’s appearance on “The Surface of Everything” there’s none of the grizzly abrasion that marked that artist’s 2008 album Black Sea.

Sadness seems the key. The landscape begins to close up in autumn – the fruits of spring drop away, the oppressive hues of winter begin to strip and suck the world’s colour away. A Colour For Autumn captures the melancholy of the transition, the sense of impending chill, but remains optimistic enough to know the sun will come back eventually – no matter how slowly.

View Release