02 October 2011

Lawrence English - the peregrine (2011, Experimedia)

Two long drones, each one in three parts,  for a total length of 34 minutes, "The Peregrine", new album by Lawrence English,  is based on a book written by J.A. Baker about this bird of prey.

What seduced him in this book was the focus of the writer on landscape and environment, and indeed as a result, it is also what he explores here, conceiving it as an homage to the book which as his primary influence, profoundly nourished his sensitivity in the process.

Musically, it reminds me of the emotions I had for records such as "Sound Mind Sound Body" by Rafael Toral or "The Ballasted Orchestra" by The Stars of the Lid, but offered into a smoothed, more hypnotized, conceptual and linear version.  

The first part of Side A, called "October 1 – The Hunting Life" could almost be used as the common definition of what a typical drone can be, with bass sounds of Tibetan accent also recalling didgeridoo during the beginning, completed slowly and finally falling behind more acute and bright waves of sound. Globally, I'm left unimpressed by these generic choices. 

More emotions arise with the next part, "November 16 – Dead Oak" and I can manage to imagine one peregrine falcon atop such a tree, observing with its piercing eyes the landscape all around, in search of a potential prey. Next, slowly through the days, winter settles, with its firm, inhospitable grip, with the last part "December 24 – Frost’s Bitter Grip"

Surprisingly, the Side B turns into a perfect countercharge against my previous accusations. Starting with the mineral crystallinity of "January 30 –Grey Lunar Sea", just as the falcon flies over snowy landscapes, icy ponds, river or lakes, searching for the warm blood of his careless preys, I just take off and become part of the movement, engulfed by the beauty of the next track, "February 10 – The Roar Ceasing", which, even if adopting a low profile, opens wide landscapes to fragile rays of sun, offering a melancholic hope which somewhat announce the euphory of "March 16 – Heavy Breath Of Silence" with its first signs of a new spring.

I finish this record half convinced and half satisfied.


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