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Lawrence English is an influential sound composer, media artist and curator based in Australia. In this episode of Phantom Power: Sounds about Sound we speak with Lawrence about listening. In particular we think about his reworking of an important work in the fields of musique concrète and field recording, Presque Rien by Luc Ferrari, and the recent premiere of Wave Fields, his own 12-hour durational sound installation for sleepers at Burleigh Heads in Queensland as part of the Bleach* Festival.Lawrence is interested in the nature of listening and the capability of sound to occupy a body. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. He investigates the politics of relation listening and perception, through live performance, field recordings and installation.The show includes extracts from the following tracks:Album: Cruel Optimism: "Hammering a Screw."Album: Wilderness of Mirrors: "Wilderness of Mirrors,""Wrapped in Skin."Album: Songs of the Living: "Trigona Carbonaria Hive Invasion, Brisbane Australia,""Cormorants Flocking At Dusk Amazon Brazil,""Various Chiroptera Samford Australia."Album: Ghost Towns: "Ghost Towns."Album: Kiri No Oto: "Soft Fuse."Luc Ferrari: Presque Rien.  Transcript [♪ ethereal music playing ♪]  [CRIS CHEEK]This… is… Phantom Power.  [COMPUTERIZED VOICE]Episode 4.  [CRIS]On Listening In.  [buzzing sounds fade in, and fade out as Cris begins to speak] [CRIS] The hive of the sugarbag bee, endemic to northeastern Australia. [loud music starts abruptly] The first notes of a piece called… [more loud notes] Hammering the Screw. [scratching noises and metallic noises begin] Found objects – a 44 gallon drum, a ghost town in far northern Australia. [scratching sounds] Just some small extracts from recordings made by today’s guest. [MACK HAGOOD]It’s Phantom Power, sounds about sound. That’s Cris Cheek, and I’m Mack Hagood. [LAWRENCE ENGLISH, pre-recorded]I’m Lawrence English, and I have been described as a professional listener. [bullfrog sounds fade in] Which does make me sound like a very second-rate therapist. [laughing] But, it is the kind of thing that I spend a lot of time doing in my everydays. There is a lot of listening that goes on, and I suppose in some respects you know, I’m increasingly interested in problematizing what that actually means, what our relationship is with that way of knowing the world around us. [music fades in, intense and somewhat sad] [MACK]So, Cris, I’m really excited that you got this interview with Lawrence English. [CRIS]Yeah!  [MACK]I’m familiar with his work. I always thought of him as the Drone Guy, you know he does these really amazing and complex droning soundscapes, but it turns out, as you’ve just shown us by playing that material, that’s not even the half of what he does. [CRIS]Yeah, that’s right. He’s a highly contemporary model of the artist scholar, I think. A prolific composer – there’s at least 18 solo records and rising in the current millennium. He’s a sound art researcher, an artist, a fine photographer, and he supports a ton of other artists through his highly influential imprint, Room 40, based in eastern Australia, but genuinely servicing a global audience. Really interesting. [MACK]So, Cris, I know today you’re gonna walk us through some of Lawrence English’s recent work, including this recreation of a piece by a godfather of sound art, Luc Ferrari, and also some of his recent albums such as Cruel Optimism and Wilderness of Mirrors. But, what was it like talking with him? Did you find that there were any sorts of through lines to his work? [CRIS]One of the through lines that I found is that we were always coming back to talk about listening in relation to audience, listening in relation to where you are, to context, listening as a kind of politics, collective listening – all of his projects are situated in relation to the act of listening.

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