Boomkat Product Review:
Lawrence English follows the excellent pipe organ-focused 'Lassitude' with another elevated set of syrupy drone poems built around Charlemagne Palestine's concept of "maximal minimalism". Glacial stuff, in the best possible way >> think Kali Malone, Ellen Arkbro, Phill Niblock or Éliane Radigue.
'Observation of Breath' is a patient, meditative album that continues English's obsession with organ sounds. He's been using the instrument for years now - his standout albums "Cruel Optimism" and "Wilderness of Mirrors" were shaped by the pipe organ - but has only recently began to experiment with the instrument's naked tones.
Last year's "Lassitude" was composed using a 19th century Australian organ housed in Brisbane's Old Museum. "Observation of Breath" picks up where that record left off, eschewing the processed drones of its weighty predecessor to offer a more sacred set of sounds. In fact, the processing English uses here is subtle - he lets the familiar groan of the organ take pride of place in the compositions, playing slowly but assuredly.
'The Torso' is the most abstract of the four pieces, with whooshing air taking up almost as much sonic territory as the squealing organ wails. But 'A Binding' and 'And A Twist' take a more familiar tone, reflecting Kali Malone and Ellen Arkbro's chilly spiritual minimalism. When English reaches his conclusion on the title track, he brings all the elements together, slowly painting over resonant tones until he creates hypnotic phasing sounds that wobble uneasily over gut-churning sub bass.