Review: Lawrence English – The Peregrine

I suppose it wouldn’t be too unfair to mention the antique crackle and weathering distortion of Philip Jeck, or the constantly morphing tone cloud formations of Tim Hecker, when talking about The Peregrine. It would, however, be unfair to dismiss this album as a direct derivative of either. Based on the book of the same name by J.A Baker (which I confess that I haven’t read), it seems appropriate that narrative is a particularly compelling force at work here – the listening experience hangs heavily on the ideas of time and progression, and though The Peregrine often moves slowly enough to feel outside of time’s linear motion, its subtle changes of scenery are sufficient to remind the listener that they’re not where they were previously. It’s almost as though its escapist landscapes are translucent veils through which the real world is faintly visible – transportive for sure, but never entirely untethered from home – and it’s this pendulous shift between the familiar and the unknown (and back again) that eases English away from aesthetic contemporaries.

He refers specifically to Baker’s interaction with landscape during the book – human protagonist is largely absent except as a receptor; a perceiver by which surroundings can be brought into linguistic being. The music possesses this quality also, with the warmth of these sounds never appearing to stem from its human creator; they flicker with a fervency of their own making, blurring into new textures as though passing their energy on in an eternal death/life cycle. But it’s also more explicitly present in the way the music seems to emanate from the edges and rarely from the centre. Steady drone streams pour inward rather the bursting out, and it’s as though English is placing emphasis on how The Peregrine is a culmination of inspiration rather than a flower blooming forth from its creator, with the end product representing the central point at which all creative energy is destined.