Watch a clip from Lawrence English’s forthcoming album of Amazon field recordings


Lawrence English is an Australian based composer and Room40 boss who regularly uses field recordings in his compositions. You can check out our review of his 2020 composition Field Recordings From the Zone here, and his pipe organ drone album Lassitude here. His latest release, A Mirror Holds The Sky (Room40) consists entirely of field recordings gathered in the Amazon.

in 2008 he visited with the assistance of Francisco Lopez’s Mamori Artlab residency. Inspired by the sheer scale of the region, he and his wife Rebecca collected over 50 hours of recordings. Some 13 years later he’s finally worked through, condensed, compiled, edited and layered the material in a process he calls “a rendering down of the lived in moments and environments that became points of intense listenership.” We’d love to tell you exactly what he’s done or how he’s done it, but we can’t because every time we put on these gorgeous vibrant field recordings we’re filled with such a life affirming wave of emotion that our thoughts just turn inward and we drift away. All we can say is that it feels like medicine for the soul.

This is what he has to say about it:

“The jungle is never silent. Even when you might expect the Amazon to be hushed, in those hours before dawn or in the heat of the midday sun, it is hardly what could be described as quiet. What might be true to say though is during these moments where the chorus of insects takes a step back, the jungle opens just a little. To listen in the jungle is to listen in close relief – in every square metre, thousands of insect cry out, their voices reducing the horizon of listening to a matter of centimetres at certain times of the day (and night). The sensation is sensorially disorienting and frankly, overpowering.”

“In those moments where you can get a sense of dimension and depth, the dynamism of the environment comes to the for. The abundance of birds, mammals, beetles, flies, ants and so many other creatures are a source of constant and evolving fascination. In the lakes and rivers too, the hydro-sonic environments are perpetual and effortlessly deep. It’s humbling to acknowledge how little we come to know of that which lies just below us.”

A Mirror Holds The Sky will be released on the 3rd of September via Room40. You can find it here.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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