Album Review: Lawrence English – Cruel Optimism | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 17.02.17






On his first new album of solo material in three years, multi-media artist and composer Lawrence English explodes the distinction between minimalism and maximalism in a thick miasma of drone and manipulated found sound. Cruel Optimism builds on the vast, crushing soundscapes of its predecessor Wilderness of Mirrors, with pieces such as Hammering A Screw alternating between weightlessness and grand physical might in a vertiginous manner.

With contributions from musicians including Mats Gustafsson, Thor Harris and Norman Westerberg, there’s a harmonic ambition and vibrant attack to English’s work here that sets it apart from most other drone artists. As the soundtrack for a world that seems increasingly out of control and removed from expectation, Cruel Optimism is a grand achievement.

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