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Here’s a CD on L-NE from renowned sound artist and blurry ambient master Lawrence English, this time an homage (or not?) to everyone’s favourite minimalist John Cage. Apparently this has been primarily influenced by rescoring Cage’s piece for solo light source ‘One11’, resulting in what to my ears sounds like the usual unrecognisably blurred swirl of gentle sound, t ...

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For/Not For John Cage by Lawrence English
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8/10 Mike Staff review, 26 September 2012

Here’s a CD on L-NE from renowned sound artist and blurry ambient master Lawrence English, this time an homage (or not?) to everyone’s favourite minimalist John Cage. Apparently this has been primarily influenced by rescoring Cage’s piece for solo light source ‘One11’, resulting in what to my ears sounds like the usual unrecognisably blurred swirl of gentle sound, throbbing and wibbling and pulsing gently away to itself with celestial poise, filling the atmosphere with sonorous peace vibes as it subtly morphs and develops.

As he was creating the new score he English found a new body of sound art forming which while not part of the score itself, still drew heavily from Cage’s passions, “specifically his interest in Zen Buddhism”, so his influence on some of these pieces is more direct than others, hence the “For/Not For” aspect of the title. In the press release English rather sweetly writes: “John Cage, with that beaming smile and trademarked casualness with which he operated his revelatory genius, has consistently acted as a touch stone for me; his life’s interests underscoring the way in which music, space, humour and philosophy connect (and also break apart)”, so his affection and understanding of Cage’s work certainly isn’t in doubt, and this is certainly a humble and heartfelt tribute to the great man. Also this proves educational to me as I had no idea Cage had trademarked his casualness.

Ultimately what we’re left with here is an indistinct, dream-like mush of distilled sound, stripped of context and form and purposefully smeared across the ether. I’m finding it very relaxing even if the more cerebral aspects of the concept might be going over my head a little.


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