Published Nov 14, 2016Two years removed from exploring the Wilderness of Mirrors, Australian sound artist Lawrence English has detailed a follow-up full-length. Titled Cruel Optimism, the record will arrive early next year through English's own Room40 label.
Running 10 tracks in length, English's latest is said to meditate "on how power consumes, augments and ultimately shapes two subsequent human conditions: obsession and fragility." It takes its title from a text of the same name by American theorist Lauren Berlant.
"In Cruel Optimism, I found a number of critical readings around the issues that have fuelled so much of the music I have been making recently," English explained in a press release. "Beyond her keen analysis of the relations of attachment as they pertain to conditions of possibility in the everyday, it was particularly her writing around trauma I found deeply affecting. It was a jumping point from which a plague of unsettling impressions of suffering, intolerance and ignorance could be unpacked and utilized as fuel over and above pointless frustration."
He continued: "As I have worked through Cruel Optimism, what seemed an unimaginable future just a few years prior, began to present as actual. Over the course of creating the record, we collectively bore witness to a new wave of humanitarian and refugee crisis...the Black Lives Matter movement, the widespread use of sonic weapons on civilians, increased drone strikes in Waziristan, Syria and elsewhere, and record low numbers of voting around Brexit and the U.S. election cycle, suggesting a wider sense of disillusionment and powerlessness...Cruel Optimism is a meditation on these challenges and an encouragement to press forward towards more profound futures."
Cruel Optimism arrives February 17. Read through the tracklisting to hear the droning "Object of Protection" in the player below.
1. Hard Rain
2. The Quietest Shore
3. Hammering A Screw
5. Requiem For A Reaper Pillar Of Cloud
6. Exquisite Human Microphone
7. Object Of Projection
8. Negative Drone
10. Moribund Territories