As it frequently happens, the initial conceptualization of Cruel Optimism was not informed by anything but an individual response to the sounds, supported by gut instinct plus the will of bathing our innermost core in the record’s throbbing ponderousness. Following a number of subsequent listens, mental notes had been taken about the exhortative consequences of these sonorities on a soul currently subjected to all kinds of pessimistic impulses and – especially – troubled by a constant disruption of vital flows. Noise breaking the silence; someone’s futile words perturbing the focusing processes. What’s absolutely indispensable to resist in difficult times is systematically threatened by the ubiquitous stupidity of countless pitiful egos.
Without the necessary cognition on the album’s descent and its contributors, a compulsion to return to some of the most impressive passages was gradually replaced by the resolute attempt of discovering traces of harmony within utterly disheartening contexts. After learning what was missing from the first analysis, it seems that Lawrence English was willing to communicate analogous issues: fighting the ultra-quick collapse of humanity through gloriously dramatic music.
As we let these tracks permeate our systems for the umpteenth time, the timbral functions in the compositional model become clearer. Among heterogeneous sources, some are perceived more clearly than others: on occasion, Brodie McAllister’s trombone highlights majestic landscapes of hopelessness. However, English managed to create a powerful orchestral unity by rendering dissimilar textures into a joint cry from the innards of the frequency gamuts. Insidious layers of granular haze do not reduce the textural gravity; the despair of a mute wiseness undergoing severe endurance tests ultimately morphs into roaring beauty.
To borrow a commonplace, this might very well be – in spirit – English’s own The Disintegration Loops. It surely stands as the finest outing heard from him by this writer, and an imposing statement overall.