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LAWRENCE ENGLISH - TRANSIT
cajid 003CD
$AU25



On Transit, Lawrence English surveys a variety of radically different sonic environments and sets them against a rich array of textured electronics. Pulling together abstracted fragments from these settings, he creates an impressionistic sound portrait of his movement across Australia, Japan and the UK.

Not content with representing the overt sounds of these environments, English seeks out less apparent sound elements, such as a moment of rare quiet amidst Tokyo's Shinagawa district, movement of snow underfoot in the Scottish border country, and the deafening tones of Australia's cicada, he invites listeners to create their own narrative.

Featuring audio contributions from: John Chantler, Mike Cooper, DJ Olive, Ben Frost, Cat Hope, Tam Patton, Gail Priest, Heinz Riegler, Robin Rimbaud and Philip Samartzis. Click here to purchase with paypal. Scroll for reviews.

LISTEN

track 2 [excerpt]1:12 min 850k mp3

REVIEWS

Feardrop #12, Summer 2005
Diffusion (Sonic Arts Netwok) - Justin Hardison
Paris Transatlantic - DW, June 2005
REALTIME (Earbash)- Jonathan Marshall

Feardrop #12, Summer 2005

Troisième (et de loin la plus intéresante) production du label australien Cajid media, Transit est un passage subtil entre la brume et la chant. Le lyrisme de l’insaisissable, le mirage comme lieu d’émission, voilà qui resemble estrangement à un appel de sirène (jusqu’à une voix féminine qui y fredonne sur quelques instants), à un piège pour le voyageur, à une perte par la lumière et le son. Les deux sont ici distribués sans surenchère, plutôt doucement exsudés. Le voyage arrêté, le voyageur est en transit, sans doute perdu, peut-être arrivé à destination. Presque statiques, les vagues reflètent le beau travail de Lawrence English, partagé entre d’infimes chocs concrets, des field recordingd, des crépitements, des bâtons effondrés, des tintements infra, et une houle synthétique avalée par le flot, vite revigorée. S’il n’y avait cette fragilité qui dépend d’une sobriété extrême, on penserait aux sources expressionistes de Paul Schütze. Sans la même volonté paysagère, L. English dessine pourtant des formes dans le sable, les chants qui l’entourent, le vent dans le végétation, les oiseaux qui s’y balancent, et l’eau qui sourd du nuage, percé comme le mystère qui nimbait les premières minutes de l’album. Un lieu, un temps profondément poètiques que l’on investit pour finalement les habiter. A noter les contributions, pour certains sons, de Scanner, DJ Olive, P. Samartzis ...

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Diffusion (Sonic Arts Netwok)
Justin Hardison

Cajid Media’s third release is Transit by Brisbane based sound artist Lawrence English and features contributions from DJ Olive, Ben Frost, Cat Hope, Robin Rimbaud, Mike Cooper, Philip Samartzis and more. Despite the large list of guests on the album, you wouldn't know any of them had a hand in the work. The moody combination of field recordings, ominous drones, electronics and events seem to pass before you and at times you may forget that a human is responsible for manipulating what you're hearing. I couldn't pick out the guitar, bass or turntables featured but instead heard the manipulated field recordings from Vietnam, Tasmania and Thailand as well as lush rainforests, crackly announcements over loudspeakers, spiralling drones, passing birds, sine waves, sirens and what could be described as ghosts hauling furniture across the upstairs floors.

Over the course of seven tracks, Lawrence English uses Ableton Live to piece together all of the manipulated sound work and contributions and creates more of a headphone environment to experience then simply a track to listen to but after a few listens you begin to pick out things like Gail Priest's haunting vocal contribution or the sound of processed rumbling traffic. You'll also notice sounds that seem to disappear and reappear later on other tracks. I was previously unfamiliar with the work of Lawrence English but Transit has definitely tweaked my interest.

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Paris Transatlantic
DW, June 2005

This third release on Cajid is the richest and most rewarding to date, featuring seven evocative and superbly crafted soundscapes by Lawrence English (who's usually based in Brisbane Australia, though I read this was recorded in Tokyo and England between 2002 and 2003), using "audio tools" supplied by Mike Cooper (guitar and voice), DJ Olive (turntables), Cat Hope (bass), Tam Patton (keyboards), Gail Priest (voice), Heinz Riegler (guitar), Robin "Scanner" Rimbaud (electronics) and field recordings from Thailand, Vietnam and Tasmania provided by, respectively, John Chantler, Ben Frost and Philip Samartzis. If I might be permitted the luxury of quoting from one of my own reviews (of Keith Berry's The Ear That Was Sold To A Fish), much recent electronic music, "as if ironically commenting on the size of the machine that produced it, a laptop about as large and heavy as a folded Sunday newspaper [..] has explored vast reverberant space." If Jérôme Noetinger ever gets round to reactivating his Metamkine Cinema For The Ear series, Lawrence English should be high on his list of potential contributors; I remember an old track by Opik on a long out-of-print Ambient compilation (Feed Your Head, on Planet Dog records) entitled "Travelling Without Moving", and that's a perfect description for English's work. Which is not to say it's music to turn on tune in and drop out to (though I imagine with a little chemical stimulation the results could be quite extraordinary): like Keith Berry, Matt Waldron, Stephan Mathieu and Akira Rabelais, English has not only a vivid imagination and a great feel for structure, but an instinctive understanding of what music is capable of stimulating on the emotional level. If Wim Wenders had waited fourteen years before making Bis Ans Ende Der Welt he could have avoided Graeme Revell's soppy cello drooling (in part three) and used Lawrence English's music instead: Wenders' ambitious and not always very convincing if quite enjoyable movie tried to imagine what dreams might look like if we could actually see them on a video screen; I like to think that if one could record dreams as purely audio information, they might sound something like this. Magical.

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REALTIME (Earbash)
Jonathan Marshall

Cajid Media's 2 most recent releases could not be more dissimilar. Bruce Mowson's Static Tones constitutes a dry and unrelenting exploration of the aural perceptual effects created by throbbing, pulsing blocks of rather difficult sound. Lawrence English's Transit however is a seductive, beautiful suite which melds field recordings with airy, epic organ effects, gentle musique concrete atmospheres, and dramatic, punctilious aural flourishes.

English's 7 track set was inspired by the concept of travel and aural specificity, its sources moving from Thailand to Tasmania, the urban fringes of Japan, Northern England and Vietnam. While these samples broadly evoke the concept of place, English lifts these discrete elements out of their original context and mixes them so that no specific sites or aural landscapes are directly evoked. The effect suggests a sense of gradual change or horizontal movement from one environment to another (mostly from track to track), coupled with a strong impression of how these once site-specific sonic motifs have become deeply embedded within the warp and weft of these new, abstract aural realms. The sounds have therefore changed from being field recordings–recorded "in the field", constituting a form of sonic anthropology or record–to become strongly implicated within and affiliated to a broad, gently cycling and moving field of sound, a cloud-like blanket or nexus of mobile elements within which they sit.

The manipulation of the depth of field makes up one of the primary organizing principles of English's composition. Smaller sounds with a sharper attack and decay, such as plucked strings, tapped tubes, lightly-scraped phonograph needles, distorted vocals, ceramic clicks, bird or insect sounds, short sine wave and beeps, and other fragments, occupy the sonic foreground, while indeterminate rumbles or harmonious tones fill the background, providing a deep yet fluctuating bed into which these lighter elements are placed. If there is a weakness across the pieces overall it is in the use of choral-like organ chords or hummed vocals to convey a sense of the epic, the beautiful and/or the mysterious which at times approaches dated, New Age cliches from Brian Eno or Vangelis. English's wavering sonic fields are however too richly complicated to permit his work to actually conform with such worn motifs. It is indeed partly by skirting such familiar references that English makes his evocative materials so easy and pleasurable to listen to. For those looking for contemporary sound art which largely avoids the impenetrable aural harshness or difficulty of much otherwise fine new work, English's gorgeous, evocative collection should not be missed.

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AVERSIONONLINE.COM

This is my first exposure to the work of Australian artist Lawrence English, and what an exceptional piece of work it is. I was immediately impressed by the beautiful ambience of minimal opener "Oceanic Drift", but that's just scratching the surface of the general palette of the disc. On this particular CD, English is joined by a number of other contributors - supplying guitar, vocals, turntables, bass, keyboards, etc. Also contributed are field recordings from a variety of exotic locations, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Tasmania. Interestingly enough the record itself was recorded in both Tokyo and London, while edited together in Brisbane, Australia - all of which took place from late-2002 to mid-2003. Worth mentioning, however, is that these guest appearances are limited to various areas of the disc, and therefore the end result is something that remains consistent and unified, it's not at all a random jumble of different sounds/performers. "That Was a Lucky One" is similarly minimal in its lush ambient flow, possessing subtler movement in the distance along with a few samples of people speaking (practically inaudibly) alongside brighter ringing and shuffling textures placed against the humming low-end. "Closing Frame" opens with the sounds of chirping birds over a strange midrange texture that also sounds more like a natural environment: Dryer and more organic than some of the ambient tones employed in the first two tracks. But as the eight-minute composition progresses some pulsing drones do come into play, along with an almost piercing high-end tone that's carefully placed in the mix so as not to disturb the humming vocals or melodic undercurrents. "Run Off" is similar in its blend of outdoor sounds and rumbling low-end, though it's somehow darker in tone, not to mention somewhat more minimal and delicate in arrangement. "Shinagawa (Moment on Tokaido)" possesses some of the same characteristics to a more melodic degree, as a passing movement glides across harmonic swells that ebb and flow over time. Another deeper and somewhat more minimal piece presents itself in "Dual Process", which actually ups the ante on sinister ambience even compared to "Run Off", and this continues in the even deeper "Winter Sun"! This is another longer selection at seven minutes, and is also among the softest and most subdued of the entire release. Excellent work, too! The disc is handsomely packaged in a simple digipack with a few images of leaves and crisp, clean text. Simple yet effective. All in all this makes for a truly enjoyable listening experience, and this is a significantly more interesting release than the other material I've encountered from Cajid Media, so I'm very pleased with this one. The sound quality and everything about the record just has a nice, deliberate sense of quality that certainly comes through in the music itself. Very nice, indeed. Experimental listeners with a taste for the artistic ambient side should absolutely look into this CD.
Running time - 45:11, Tracks: 7
[Notable tracks: Oceanic Drift, Dual Process, Winter Sun]

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The Wire
Jim Hayens, Outer Limits, March 2005

"A digital radiance binds, envelops and abstracts all the sounds found on Transit from the Australian sound artist Lawrence English. Considering that his source material comes from Robin Rimbaud, DJ Olive, Philip Samartzis and a whole host of other contributors, English's ability to galvanise everything into a cohesive composition is a necessity - lest the album crumble under the strain of disparate field recordings, turntablist gestures, guitar scrabblings and wordless vocalisations. English softens all the edges and extends particular timbres into oceanic swells that ebb and flow in conjunction with the haunted melodies that lumber in the distance, at times resembling the gaping spaces of Thomas Koner and at others the incidental music of Tarkovsky's Stalker. Quiet, unprocessed events of metallic clamour and the chorus of chatty birds deftly balance the cold, hard polish that English applies to his shodowy, rippling ambience."

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Stylus
Bryan Berge

The digital clock gives off a sickly green light. You turn over in your half-sleep and try to read the numbers, but they blur before your bleary eyes. A jumble of senses confronts you: the sounds of an insomniac city out the window, the buzz and whir of your heart and head, shadows stretching like languid ghosts over the furniture.

How different this strange sleepy night world is from the one you encounter wide-awake. How incomprehensible it is. . .

Interpretations of reality are always acts of imagination, but normally they follow principles of reason that, if limited, are familiar and comprehensible. But on the verge of sleep, the mind loses its grip on familiar structures, and the logic of dreams seeps into real life. Think of the bizarre history of nocturnal hallucinations. The boundary between waking life and unconsciousness is the prime space for the mixture of fantasy and reality, mysticism and lucidity.

Lawrence English’s Transit is a sonic portrait of this process. Mr. English captures the simple sounds of life—insect buzzes, bird chirps, passing cars, alarms, and incidental vocal snippets—but with the help of a posse of like-minded sound artists, he transforms them into surreal transmissions from a dream plane. The world he interprets is normal (his sound sources will be familiar to any listener), but his interpretation of it is magical. Transit is his hallucination—a vision of a foggy perma-night inhabited by solemn, torch-wielding prophets, living storm clouds, and somnambulant hordes of brooding wildlife.

Opener “Oceanic Drift” layers deep and oceanic drones over Mike Cooper’s voice and guitar, which sound distantly as if they drifting in from a far off room to die at the foot of Mr. English’s bed. A haunting wind whispers through the track and crackles of electronic manipulation blister the surface of the solid drones. The track defines Mr. English’s aesthetic; much of the album is superficially similar—somber and grand, with a sense of dark mystery. Luckily his sound is so rich and complex that it truly is an aesthetic rather than stylistic water-treading.

Despite this over-arching mood, some tracks break the mold. “Closing Frame” forsakes the open spaces of the ambient soundscape for the claustrophobia of noise. The track opens with two field-recording classics: cricket chirps and bird songs. A faint drum intones a simple rhythm underneath them. The beat brings forth a swell of crickets that overwhelms all other sound besides the insistent thump. I picture a crazed shaman summoning a plague of insects to ravage an enemy. The sound amplifies from a cacophony of crickets to a menacing blizzard of noise until a thick patch of electronic angel-voices clears the air and invites the birds to sing again.

Mr. English turns a dreamer’s ear to the real world. Listen to this album as you stare out the window and watch as the cars take flight. Listen to this as you fall asleep and feel your mind melt. Search for the magic hidden beneath our common defenses against an overwhelming reality.

[back to top]

AVERSIONONLINE.COM

This is my first exposure to the work of Australian artist Lawrence English, and what an exceptional piece of work it is. I was immediately impressed by the beautiful ambience of minimal opener "Oceanic Drift", but that's just scratching the surface of the general palette of the disc. On this particular CD, English is joined by a number of other contributors - supplying guitar, vocals, turntables, bass, keyboards, etc. Also contributed are field recordings from a variety of exotic locations, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Tasmania. Interestingly enough the record itself was recorded in both Tokyo and London, while edited together in Brisbane, Australia - all of which took place from late-2002 to mid-2003. Worth mentioning, however, is that these guest appearances are limited to various areas of the disc, and therefore the end result is something that remains consistent and unified, it's not at all a random jumble of different sounds/performers. "That Was a Lucky One" is similarly minimal in its lush ambient flow, possessing subtler movement in the distance along with a few samples of people speaking (practically inaudibly) alongside brighter ringing and shuffling textures placed against the humming low-end. "Closing Frame" opens with the sounds of chirping birds over a strange midrange texture that also sounds more like a natural environment: Dryer and more organic than some of the ambient tones employed in the first two tracks. But as the eight-minute composition progresses some pulsing drones do come into play, along with an almost piercing high-end tone that's carefully placed in the mix so as not to disturb the humming vocals or melodic undercurrents. "Run Off" is similar in its blend of outdoor sounds and rumbling low-end, though it's somehow darker in tone, not to mention somewhat more minimal and delicate in arrangement. "Shinagawa (Moment on Tokaido)" possesses some of the same characteristics to a more melodic degree, as a passing movement glides across harmonic swells that ebb and flow over time. Another deeper and somewhat more minimal piece presents itself in "Dual Process", which actually ups the ante on sinister ambience even compared to "Run Off", and this continues in the even deeper "Winter Sun"! This is another longer selection at seven minutes, and is also among the softest and most subdued of the entire release. Excellent work, too! The disc is handsomely packaged in a simple digipack with a few images of leaves and crisp, clean text. Simple yet effective. All in all this makes for a truly enjoyable listening experience, and this is a significantly more interesting release than the other material I've encountered from Cajid Media, so I'm very pleased with this one. The sound quality and everything about the record just has a nice, deliberate sense of quality that certainly comes through in the music itself. Very nice, indeed. Experimental listeners with a taste for the artistic ambient side should absolutely look into this CD.
Running time - 45:11, Tracks: 7
[Notable tracks: Oceanic Drift, Dual Process, Winter Sun]

[back to top]

The Wire
Jim Hayens, Outer Limits, March 2005

"A digital radiance binds, envelops and abstracts all the sounds found on Transit from the Australian sound artist Lawrence English. Considering that his source material comes from Robin Rimbaud, DJ Olive, Philip Samartzis and a whole host of other contributors, English's ability to galvanise everything into a cohesive composition is a necessity - lest the album crumble under the strain of disparate field recordings, turntablist gestures, guitar scrabblings and wordless vocalisations. English softens all the edges and extends particular timbres into oceanic swells that ebb and flow in conjunction with the haunted melodies that lumber in the distance, at times resembling the gaping spaces of Thomas Koner and at others the incidental music of Tarkovsky's Stalker. Quiet, unprocessed events of metallic clamour and the chorus of chatty birds deftly balance the cold, hard polish that English applies to his shodowy, rippling ambience."

[back to top]

Stylus
Bryan Berge

The digital clock gives off a sickly green light. You turn over in your half-sleep and try to read the numbers, but they blur before your bleary eyes. A jumble of senses confronts you: the sounds of an insomniac city out the window, the buzz and whir of your heart and head, shadows stretching like languid ghosts over the furniture.

How different this strange sleepy night world is from the one you encounter wide-awake. How incomprehensible it is. . .

Interpretations of reality are always acts of imagination, but normally they follow principles of reason that, if limited, are familiar and comprehensible. But on the verge of sleep, the mind loses its grip on familiar structures, and the logic of dreams seeps into real life. Think of the bizarre history of nocturnal hallucinations. The boundary between waking life and unconsciousness is the prime space for the mixture of fantasy and reality, mysticism and lucidity.

Lawrence English’s Transit is a sonic portrait of this process. Mr. English captures the simple sounds of life—insect buzzes, bird chirps, passing cars, alarms, and incidental vocal snippets—but with the help of a posse of like-minded sound artists, he transforms them into surreal transmissions from a dream plane. The world he interprets is normal (his sound sources will be familiar to any listener), but his interpretation of it is magical. Transit is his hallucination—a vision of a foggy perma-night inhabited by solemn, torch-wielding prophets, living storm clouds, and somnambulant hordes of brooding wildlife.

Opener “Oceanic Drift” layers deep and oceanic drones over Mike Cooper’s voice and guitar, which sound distantly as if they drifting in from a far off room to die at the foot of Mr. English’s bed. A haunting wind whispers through the track and crackles of electronic manipulation blister the surface of the solid drones. The track defines Mr. English’s aesthetic; much of the album is superficially similar—somber and grand, with a sense of dark mystery. Luckily his sound is so rich and complex that it truly is an aesthetic rather than stylistic water-treading.

Despite this over-arching mood, some tracks break the mold. “Closing Frame” forsakes the open spaces of the ambient soundscape for the claustrophobia of noise. The track opens with two field-recording classics: cricket chirps and bird songs. A faint drum intones a simple rhythm underneath them. The beat brings forth a swell of crickets that overwhelms all other sound besides the insistent thump. I picture a crazed shaman summoning a plague of insects to ravage an enemy. The sound amplifies from a cacophony of crickets to a menacing blizzard of noise until a thick patch of electronic angel-voices clears the air and invites the birds to sing again.

Mr. English turns a dreamer’s ear to the real world. Listen to this album as you stare out the window and watch as the cars take flight. Listen to this as you fall asleep and feel your mind melt. Search for the magic hidden beneath our common defenses against an overwhelming reality.

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PURCHASE
$AU25 including postage (worldwide)


last updated 17/11/09
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