FACT mix 584: Lawrence English

A golden protest from the prolific sound artist and Room40 honcho.

As a label owner and musician, Lawrence English has been behind some of the finest ambient, drone and noise adjacent records of the past 15 years on his label Room40, with Tim Hecker, Keith Fullerton Whitman and John Chantler among the many artists he’s released.

He’s recorded with Grouper (as Slow Walkers), Ben Frost, Tujiko Noriko, Tenniscoats and Francisco López, and has gone to the ends of the earth to capture incredible field recordings, using a hydrophone to pick up the sounds of rare sea creatures and braving Antarctic blizzards (he’s even written a guide to field recording for us).

Based in Brisbane, Australia, his forthcoming album, Cruel Optimism, is a “protest album” against “the immediate threat of abhorrent possible futures,” influenced by the global refugee crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Trump presidency and even the use of sonic weapons on civilians — a subject he delved into with typical erudition in an essay for FACT last year.

Titled ‘Everything Turns Out Golden’ – a wink at recent news events, we think – English’s FACT mix is “a collision of themes,” he tells us: “connection, affect, loss, transgression, protest and rebirth.”

From György Ligeti to Grouper, Techno Animal to David Toop, “these are all songs that have reached me over the past while,” he says, “a lot of them during the making of Cruel Optimism, and generally made me realise why music is so loaded with potential meaning and use! Everything co-habitats here.

“There’s also a tip of the hat to folks we lost, like Tony Conrad, who left in their wake such a hugely inspiring collection of work and influence.”

Tracklist:

Terre Thaemlitz – ‘There Was A Boy/There Was A Girl (Declamation)’
Techno Animal – ‘Demonoid’
Tony Conrad – ‘May’
Carl Stone – ‘Kuk II Kwan’
György Ligeti – ‘Requiem For Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs and Orchestra’
Olivia Block – ‘Dissolution’
Geinoh Yamashirogumi – ‘Shohmyon’
Dispossessed – ‘Thronebreaker/Wayfarer’
Death Grips – ‘Guillotine’
David Toop – ‘Dry Keys Echo In The Dark And Humid Hours’
Circular Keys – ‘Grow’
Swans – ‘Your Property’ (Live bootleg, 1983)
Xiu Xiu – ‘Twin Peaks Live Ambient Sound’
Marina Rosenfeld – ‘HARD LOVE’
Jenny Hval – ‘Female Vampire’
Joe Hisashi – ‘Nausicaä’
Jim O’Rourke – ‘From Here To There’
Beach Boys – ‘Don’t Talk Put Your Head On My Shoulder’
Grouper – ‘He Knows, He Knows’
Eliane Radigue – ‘Kyema’
Thor And Friends – ‘Thirsty Came’
Jana Winderen – ‘Aquaculture’
Gastr Del Sol – ‘The Harp Factory On Lake Street’
Norman Westberg – ‘A Particular Tuesday’
Keiji Haino – ‘Koko’
William Basinksi – ‘Melancholia III’
David Bowie – ‘A New Career In A New Town’

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