Podcast 768: Lawrence EnglishPodcast 768: Lawrence English

Only last month, Lawrence English, the celebrated Australian ambient producer, released Approach, a new album that soundtracks Yoshihisa Tagami’s “Grey,” the first Japanese graphic novel or comic (known as a manga) that English bought for himself, aged 13. After rediscovering it in 2021, he became compelled to create a “sonic postcard” as a form of “distorted mirror to its pages,” he says. What results is a potent work that he has retrospectively drafted for the unsteady teenage version of himself. It also pays homage to the family and friends who helped to “cushion and guide” his fragile body and mind as an adolescent.

Recorded over the summer, English’s EDMjunkies podcast pulls together some of the important works that came to shape Approach—like a mood board of the past year or so. Rediscovering the manga set off “something of a chain reaction” in English, he says, encouraging him to dig into some of the interests and curiosities that had been “dormant for a good while.” For instance, he revisited the anime of his childhood and Japanese music like Kumi Miyasato, who features here. The playlist is also rich in the music that English was listening to as he recorded the album, such as Black Rain and Final (an alias of Justin Broadrick), plus some of his favorite releases from Room40, his own label. All of this comes together to form a rich tapestry from ambient musings that’s as deeply affective as the album itself.

“The connects are all tangential, but very much a reflection of what has been haunting me in the wee hours,” English says. “Sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees, and occasionally that encourages new perspectives to emerge. Perhaps at its core this collection is a nod to that.”

01. What have you been up to recently?
Honestly this past few months has been rather dense. In June, I had the pleasure to have a bunch of wonderful folks come to visit for the Dark Mofo festival. My old friends Norman Westberg, Heather Leigh, and Andrea Belfi popped down and I was able to meet some lovely folks like Kim Gordon and Claire Rousay for the first time too. It was a delight. In July, I spent much of the month working on a new video installation called “Boulevard of Shells,” which just opened as part of Bleach Festival on the Gold Coast. And recently, I had the honor to open Terre Thaemlitz’s ‘Reframed Positions’ exhibition, which I curated at The Substation in Melbourne. It’s an intense, powerful, and beautiful survey of her works over the past almost three decades.

02. Where and when did you record this playlist?
OK, well I have to say this is something of a wild ride in terms of a mixtape, I guess intentionally so. It’s very much a condensation of some of the materials I was consuming when I was thinking about and working on this new album, Approach. I spent a lot of last year doing something of a deep dive on various facets of Japanese culture I was exploring in my younger days. That and exploring a couple of more recent animé and film things. The inclusion of a little sound design from Ergo Proxy—which I recommend to anyone even half way interested, because it’s amazing—is proof of these explorations. I recorded this across July in a few bursts, so it’s a journey to be sure!

03. How did you choose the tracks that you’ve included?
Some of them were pieces that had been sitting in my mind’s ear for a while and others I have been drawn to more recently. The inclusion of the piece by Final, for instance, is something I’ve been enjoying again these past few months. Justin Broadrick and I have been chatting about a little project together. His most recent efforts as Final are so effortlessly deep. It’s the same with the inclusion of Natalie Beridze’s piece. We had the honor to release her album in July and I just think it is amazing. She is one of the true individual voices out there right now. I feel she needs to be heard more by everyone!

04. Where do you imagine it being listened to?
Well, if possible, find somewhere underground, or at least in the shadows, and maybe dive in there. This is weighted music, echoing through time.

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Tracklisting

01. Lawrence English “Mirror Worlds Distorting Mixtape” (Unreleased)
02. Voice of Akira Kurosawa (archival recording)
03. Masaru Sato “Throne Of Blood” (Doxy Cinematic)
04. Toshiya Tsunoda “Bottle At Park” (Erstwhile)
05. Winds Over Neo-Tokyo “Geinoh Yamashirogumi” (Milan)
06. Yasuhiro Morinaga “Kids Routine after School by Krung” (Cambodia) (Sub Rosa)
07. Lawrence English “I Thought I Heard You Call” (Room40)
08. Ergo Proxy “Dialogue” (Unreleased)
09. Final “Untitled 6” (Avalanche)
10. Natalie Beredize “Door Part II” (Room40)
11. Yutaka Hirose “Trace” (WRWTFWW066)
12. Lawrence English “Unreleased material from Approach” (Room40)
1.3 Patlabor 2 “Monologue” (Unreleased)
14. Merzbow + Hexa “MerzHexa Part IV” (Dais)
15. Raja Kirik “Rampokan” (Nye Nye)
16. Grey Digital Target dialogue (Unreleased)
17. Kenji Kawai “Unnatural City II” (WRWTFWW066)
18. Black Rain “Night City Tokyo” (Blackest Ever Black)
19. Blue Comet SPT Layzner Dialogue (Unreleased)
20. Boy Harsher “Tower” (Nude Club)
21. Mobbs “Clandestine” (Chrome)
22. Claire Rousay “Everything Perfect Is Already Here” (Shelter Press)
23. Okkyung Lee “Drifting” (Black Cross Solo Sessions)
24. Kumi Miyasato “Kaze No Lullaby” (Victor)

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