How our memories evolve over time and how perspectives morph as new experiences accumulate can often be so subtle that we don’t even recognize it. Something that now feels utterly formative and foundational may have been mostly forgotten years before until another moment sparks a new pathway back through time. Understanding is often ephemeral, but the desire to look for it and evolve our thinking as we learn more is foundational.
What, exactly, does this have to do with Lawrence English’s stunning new album, Approach? In these massive, grey sonic spreads, shifting nuance and emotional toil are building blocks for the power of moments. While English conceived Approach as a soundtrack to Yoshihisa Tagami’s manga, Grey, this music rises through the sun-blocking haze, revisiting forgotten ghosts while simmering in the spectral expanses of transitory drones.
Darkness and light are present in equal measures throughout Approach. High-pitched melodies evolve in circular patterns like a beacon cutting through a heavy mist. In the deepest recesses, bass tones become the aural circulatory system. Sifting through the wreckage beneath, papering over the harshest passages so the concentrated slab of fuzz-soaked, muted resonance. English has long been a gifted sound craftsman, but Approach strips back some of the accouterments to reveal the core of what makes his music tick. It’s revelatory and momentous.
Last week, a direct connection from an experience in my late teens to how I approach and think about music and art became clear to me. These realizations that accumulate throughout our lives can take our breath away, but only if we allow ourselves to be swept into the current. Approach offers a path into discovery.