Boomkat Product Review:
Gorgeous ambient music. RIYL Satie, Elodie, AFX, Eno
First Meeting, as the title cannily suggests, forms a very welcome introduction to the wonderfully charming and expressive ambient music of Belgium’s Dominique Lawalree. Aye, we’ve never heard of him before, either. But he’s been recording since 1976, almost appeared on Brian Eno’s short-lived Obscure label and counts Gavin Bryars a long time friend and fan of his music, so consider this first-ever retrospective of his recordings as an essential catch-up.
Entirely drawn from self-released titles c. 1978-1982 on Lawalree’s Brussels-based Editions Walrus (what a name?!), First Meeting reveals a quietly sublime and intimately idiosyncratic sound in nine parts - so quiet and intimate in fact that we feel like a privileged fly on the high ceiling of his apartment studio, twitching our antenna whilst the baby-faced maestro sups an Orval and strokes his keys and synths into thee sweetest tapestries.
In the enlightening liner notes by Britton Powell, Lawalree’s music is perfectly described as “wallpaper; ornate and repetitive” when compared with the music of Satie and Eno, with whom he clearly shares an affinity for subtle and meditative musicality, but the distinction lies in the inherent surreality of his music and its ability to entice and encourage closer listening, where the others tend to be background or static.
There’s a beautiful nuance of consonance to his music that tantalises the ear with its warbling harmonic complexity and elegant pacing, yet it’s never challenging; always with a careful pop-ness that points to his equal appreciation of Satie, Feldman and Stockhausen as much as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the latter of whom he’s currently working on a series of books analysing their music second-by-second, and has led him to meetings with The Beatles’ engineer, Geoff Emerick, where he pointed out mistakes in the classic recordings which nobody else has ever noticed.
Ah this record is just a dream. Warmest recommendations.