Review: Lawrence - Films & Windows


Behind imprints Dial, Laid and Smallville, Lawrence aka Peter Kersten has been no small contributor to the underground electronic music world. Shaping its sensibilities and culture through the labels' releases, parties and artists, he has been a nexus of influence out of his base in Hamburg. As a producer, he has worked surely and consistently, churning out 6 albums to date and countless singles either as Lawrence, Sten (his techno oriented material), or lesser known projects Lloyd (abstract hip hop) and ambient guitar project called Bordeaux. 
From his eponymous album 'Lawrence' in 2002 to 2009's 'Until Then, Goodbye', the producer and DJ is back with his sixth album effort, 'Films & Windows'. A well-composed gathering of tracks with a consistent vision and mood throughout, the album is the sublime expression of an artist's pursuit of intention and talent. Like all his previous output, this album is another testament to the producer's ear on quality.
Though what should be filed under deep house, the album opens with an ambient film-scorish prelude, 'The Opening Scene', which also sets the tone for what is to come -- a filmic album of soaring possibilities and tender moments brightened with cosmic wonder. Apparently inspired by an endless number of screened movies and real-life films, 'Films & Windows' is pensive and thoughtful.
The album's title track, 'Films & Windows' plays on tambourine shakes, discordant notes and instruments sounding out of tune, creating an atmosphere that is eerie, dramatic yet strangely alluring. The disharmony soon gives way to soaring synths like sunlight flooding in, blanketing the track with a broad stroke of resolution.

'Etoile Du Midi' begins quite the opposite. Soaring synths melt away before what was once a harmless kick drum thud becomes the backbone of a chugging, shuffling track. Squeaky accents combine with the subtle tinkling of keys and the occasional modulation and cosmic effect, showcasing the producer's individualism and personality.
'In Patagonia' and 'Lucifer' would be personally my more club picks of this album, though by any measurement shy of the likes of being 'bangers', depending on your taste preferences. The Kyoto Metro inspired 'Kurama' features the elements of such a ride while staring out a train window -- chugging, percussive, pensive and transient.
The suspenseful penultimate track, 'Creator (Final Call)' alternately builds tension to offer vocal relief before the album reaches its conclusive end. The closing track mirrors the opening and ends the album on an ambient, filmic note. 'Teenage Barb' is a hip-hop-esque piano instrumental with a cosmic synth waving its last goodbyes.

Where modern genre tracks favour straightjacketed formulas and big hooks to capture attention, Lawrence's music shuns the approach, preferring an expressionist style of music with the artist at the centre. Buffeted by an international community of friends, family and fans who feel the same way, there is no want for Lawrence to produce the music he does best any other way.
01 The Opening Scene
02 Marlen
03 In Patagonia
04 Films & Windows
05 Etoile Du Midi
06 Lucifer
07 Kurama
08 Angels At Night
09 Har Sinai
10 Creator (Final Call)
11 Teenage Barb