I’m not in the mood for markedly tonal music so often, especially when “ambient” is the keyword. Still, Lawrence English is among the very few musicians in this area who not only facilitates my problematic absorption of easy progressions and slow fragments of sweetness, but dresses them with tasty ingredients – typically, delicately inserted field recordings and almost invisible processing – which transform things that should be classified in the ranks of obviousness into appreciable pastels gifted with a degree of introspective reminiscence. That said, I’m sorry to report that this record fails to do so.
A Colour For Autumn is the second chapter of a series that began with For Varying Degrees Of Winter (on Baskaru), where English attempts to transfer the seasonal gradations related to the biotic and climatic aspects of certain zones to his soundscapes. The listener is left alone in hypothetical rumination, either surrounded by quiet backgrounds or more visible strokes that may appear as insubstantial or plain evocative according to the moment, remaining anchored to the single harmonic nucleus upon which every piece unfolds. No excessive variations or surprises, the instrumental shades meshed without specific definitions.
The influence on the psyche is not significant, and indeed several tracks sound a little too mono-dimensional in their elementary structure. Traces of Eno are observable – with particular reference, once again, to the Music For Films era – yet those exceedingly consonant traits are frequently burdensome, and one feels somewhat liberated when airy echoes (like, for instance, at the beginning of “…And Clouds For Company”) emerge to alleviate the whole a bit.
Cameos by Dean Roberts and Christian Fennesz remain pretty much unnoticed. English’s experience and sensitive ears prevent the album – just – from falling in the wallpaper cauldron but this is, regretfully, a lost chance for an influential sonic rendition of the thousands of hues characterizing the most beautiful season of the year.