Lawrence English

March 31, 2017 — PØST

VOLUME is incredibly pleased to host Lawrence English in conjunction with his AxS Incubator residency. English will be performing new work off of his recently-released record Cruel Optimism.

Lawrence English is composer, artist and curator based in Australia. Working across an array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work explores the politics of perception and prompts questions of field, perception and memory. English utilises a variety of approaches including visceral live performance and installation to create works that ask participants to consider their relationship to place and embodiment.

Over the past decade, English’s sonic investigations have traversed a divergent path within which musical languages and environmental sources are granted equal value. His work calls into question the established relationships of sound, harmony, distortion and structure and is sculpted, colliding overwhelmingly intricacy with roaring waves of low vibration. The music is evocative and invites the listener to explore their own narratives and impressions shaped by their subjective histories and experiences. His recent albums Cruel Optimism and Wilderness Of Mirrors revel in ‘extreme dynamics and densities’ and resolve into an ‘overriding aesthetic of harmonic distortion’. He is one half of HEXA with Jamie Stewart, who recently collaborated with David Lynch on the Factory Photographs project and enjoys ongoing collaborations with John Chantler (as Holy Family), Liz Harris (as Slow Walkers), Stephen Vitiello, Werner Dafeldecker and others.

As a producer, English has undertaken projects with artists including Blank Realm (Illegals In Heaven), Tujiko Noriko (U, Blurred In My Mirror) and Tenniscoats (Totemo Aimasho, Temporacha). His work in a post-production capacity includes albums for Ben Frost (Aurora, By The Throat, Theory Of Machines), Thor And Friends (In C), Norman Westberg (13, MRI), Tim Hecker (sequence editor, Virgins) and David Toop (sequence editor, Lost Shadows) amongst others. He has been awarded commissions from acclaimed performance troupe Circa as well as theatrical productions for The Barbican and the Queensland Theatre Company. In 2015 and 2016 he composed scores for cinema including the award winning Greek film Limbo and the Australian southern gothic thriller Down River.

English’s installation and gallery practice is concerned predominately with exploring the agency of perception. In 2015, he presented two works as part of the Asia Pacific Triennial at Gallery Of Modern Art. The first, Audition, featured a pair of lacquered 2.5 metre parabolic sculptures with subsonic custom sound, whilst Everyday Whispers collected the voices of over 150,000 visitors to the gallery and distributed them into a computer controlled multi-channel speaker monolith. His 2013 work Heavy Nothing/I’ll Be Your Mirror used ‘no input’ lathe cutting as the foundation for a series of iteration copper and mirror acrylic records. The repeated iterations exponentially revealing layers of audio artifact. The work was accompanied by a series of ‘iterative visual scores’ exploring the historical instances of absence and presence in sound across the 20th century. His triptych video installation Ghost Towns, sought to create an abstract ‘virtual map’ of remote Australian spaces, and in 2006 he produced a series of sound art works specifically for the deaf and hearing impaired under the title ‘Silence Listening’. These works were amongst the first of their kind in the world, exploring and examining the notions of isolation and sonic interaction within these oft-marginalized communities.

Outside of his recording and art commissions, Lawrence English curates a number of ongoing sound and media programs including Mono at the Institute Of Modern Art. He produces Room40’s bi-annual Open Frame Festival and has acted as a director on other festivals including Sound Polaroids, Liquid Architecture and Frankly!. He continues to curate conceptually driven exhibition programs including Melatonin – Meditations On Sound In Sleep (for Next Wave Festival), Airport Symphony (Queensland Music Festival), Small Scores (Valley Fiesta) and Audible Geography (University Of Tasmania). He developed Site Listening, a methodology for site-specific audition and has presented radiophonic works with the ABC, Deutschland Radio, ORF (Austria’s National Broadcaster), Radio Belgrade and the BBC’s World Service. He has written extensively on listening, sonic affect and popular culture for publications, catalogues and online outlets including Tiny Mixtapes, Playboy, Fact Magazine, The Conversation and others.

English’s imprint and multi-arts organisation Room40, dubbed by Pitchfork as “the foremost purveyor of experimental music in the southern hemisphere”, maintains an eclectic schedule of Australian and international artists.

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