Reviewed by Matthew Ingram (The Wire)
British electronic musician Ed Lawes's debut album is a set of great integrity, the product of three years' dedicated programming. 14 Tracks/Pieces follows the escape route out of Techno laid down by Autechre, even if the oldest track on the record, "Actually Real", is the only one with a hint of linear beats. But the attack is so even-paced, so gentle, that the experience is akin to hearing a fairly traditional jazz record filtered or processed.
Lawes's aesthetic lies in the nether space between Gil Evans, Ingram Marshall and Pierre Henry. However, this ease of pinpointing antecedents also slightly dogs the record, which occasionally can feel like an index of avant garde dabbling. This would be a greater problem if Lawes wasn't so convinced by his own project. Care is taken to explore every sonic nuance: the limping sax tones of "More Time Honoured", the Tibetan gongs of "F/S Bowl/Fourths And Fifths", and the one-mile-an-hour string quartet on "Obstacles" are all wrung out for their timbral minutiae.
Compared to the music of French GRM musique concrete organisation, with whom Lawes begs closest comparison, the tone of 14 Tracks/Pieces may not be tart enough. On the other hand, it's worth recalling that certain later electronic musicians of the 1960s, for example Jocques Lejeune, also worked in this comfort zone where jazz is painted in a deeper hue when shone through the prism of electronics. It may well be that Lawes's hard-disk editing is a red herring in the appreciation of an excellent cool jazz record.
- Various - The Cosmic Forces Of Mu
- Venetian Snares - Defluxion
- Venetian Snares & Speedranch - Making Orange Things
- Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations
- Hrvatski - Swarm & Dither
- Mu Allstars - Criminal
- Hellfish & Producer - Constant Mutation (Mixed)
- Leafcutter John - Microcontact
- Nicole Elmer - Beef Bouilion
- Tim Tetlow - Beauty Walks A Razor's Edge
- Phthalocyanine - 25 Tracks Fer 1 Track
- Leafcutter John - Concourse E.E.P.
- Luke Vibert - '95-'99
- Jega - Geometry
- Capitol K - Roadeater E.P.
- Kid Spatula - Full Sunken Breaks
- Jega & Kid Spatula - Unity Gain / Hard Love
- Capitol K - Sounds Of The Empire
- Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon
- Tusken Raiders - The Motorbike Track
- Slag Boom Van Loon - Slag Boom Van Loon
- Jega - Spectrum
- Horse Opera - 3 Cornered Room
- Capitol K - Island Row