Lawrence English returns with new album, Cruel Optimism in February 2017, listen to “Object of Projection”

(photo credit: Traianos Pakioufakis)

 Lawrence English, composer, artist and Room40 curator returns with a brand new record Cruel Optimism 17th February 2017. Expanding investigations into the politics of perception, and exploring the possibilities of new recording processes, technologies, locations and relationships, as well as conveying different sonic textures Cruel Optimism is a record that considers power (present and absent). It meditates on how power consumes, augments and ultimately shapes two subsequent human conditions: obsession and fragility.


 This edition owes its title and its origins to the wonderful text of the same name by American theorist Lauren Berlant. In his own words Lawrence states…”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…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 utilised as fuel over and above pointless frustration.

He continues…”When I made Wilderness Of Mirrors, clouds of unease were overhead. 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 (captured so succinctly in the photograph of Alan Kurdi’s tiny body motionless on the shore), 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 US election cycle, suggesting a wider sense of disillusionment and powerlessness. Acutely for me and other Australians, we’ve faced dire intolerance concerning race and continued inequalities related to gender and sexuality. The storm has broken and feels utterly visceral. Cruel Optimism is a meditation on these challenges and an encouragement to press forward towards more profound futures.


1. Hard Rain
2. The Quietest Shore
3. Hammering A Screw
4. Crow
5. Reqium For A Reaper Pillar Of Cloud
6. Exquisite Human Microphone
7. Object Of Projection
8. Negative Drone
9. Somnambulist
10. Moribund Territories

 Cruel Optimism shall be released on Room40 on 17th February 2017. Pre orders shall be available either via the Room40 webite or via bandcamp.


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