Lawrence English is composer, artist and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. He investigates the politics of perception, through live performance and installation, to create works that ponder subtle transformations of space and ask audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception.
English’s music is recognised as exploring “environmental and musical sources and is highly regarded for its intelligent invocation of perception, memory and space”. On his 2014 album Wilderness of Mirrors he outlines his approach to composition “For me it’s about a kind of struggle between almost nothing and almost everything. Sometimes one sound can be too much and other times 50 layers seems lacking in the depth you want to convey. I think at the heart of this question is dynamics, and I feel that’s very much what this album is about. It’s a slow reveal, I want it to be a seduction.”
He cites childhood experiences birdwatching for reed warbler with his father as the starting point for his interest in sound in space. He has stated, “If you just looked in the reeds you’d see nothing. If you listened you got an idea of space and a sense of where it might be, then you understood it. That’s probably my first experience with these ideas of space and sound, which are basically the fundamental building blocks of what I’ve been interested in since then.” These experiences have led to a long engagement with field recordings, and more recently the development of theoretical approaches to the practice including his Relational Listening theory.