“Weird and wonderful melancholy”: Will Saul recommends Lawrence’s <i>Films & Windows</i>

Words by willsaul

The DJ, producer and founder of labels Simple Records and Aus Music, who—under the moniker Closer—anonymously released his most recent LP Getting Closer in June 2013 on !K7, finds magic in the minute details of Dial Records’ Lawrence.

 

I have listened to Films & Windows a lot over the last two weeks whilst traveling around the US and have come to one definite conclusion: it’s perfect thinking music. Lawrence is the master of creating hypnotic moods and one of the few producers who really engages me while allowing me to float off into my imagination. I’m a longtime fan of his work and have booked him for a couple of parties in the past, including once at London’s Cable club years ago, and I always found him a charmingly shy man. Of course, I’ve played a lot of his records myself and included his music in commercial mix compilations I’ve done, including the 2007 track “Laid One” which made an appearance on my Balance mix. His productions have a very unique sound—you can always tell a Lawrence record when you hear it because of the type of melodies that he writes: they’re very melancholic and often off-key. I’m pretty sure I could pick a Lawrence track out of ten others.

While all artists strive toward an overall sound aesthetic, Lawrence nailed his down early in his career. I’ve always been drawn to the sometimes dusty, sometimes sparkly sheen of his music, and this, his sixth album, is so unmistakably in this vein that if you’re hoping for any new developments you’ll be disappointed. For those who love what he does with melody then this is him at his best, with the beatless first track “The Opening Scene” giving a clear indication of what to expect melodically throughout the album: weird and wonderful melancholy, sad and pensive, introspective and touching. Some of the tracks here have been released before, either on Dial or Pampa, like “Kurama” for example, but second track “Marlen” is new and a highlight for me along with “Creator” and “Angels At Night”. “In Patagonia” has a more low-slung gait and rubbery bassline that drives everything along beautifully. The electro bounce of “Films & Windows” sets it apart from its four-to-the-floor bedfellows, and I occasionally find myself wanting to hear Lawrence stray away from the metronomic kick and apply his melodic sensibilities to other rhythms more often. Or to be more precise: one of his key production techniques is the way he creates rhythm using melodic and resonant percussive elements. He seems to build very “straight” drum tracks and then lets his percussive elements bubble away around the drums in various syncopations. And as the percussion often carries a melody or tone beyond a traditional drum sound he uses them to harmonize with his lead melodies and chords. You could compare him to Isolée or perhaps the other guys on Dial like Efdemin in terms of how his music becomes detailed, almost microhouse-ish, in how the lushness works—both on headphones and in the club. But there are few who can do it as well as he. I think he’s a genius producer. ~

 

Lawrence’s Films & Windows is out now on Dial. This text first appeared first in Electronic Beats Magazine N° 35 (3, 2013). Read the full issue on issuu.com or in the embed below.