Lawrence makes a full-length return to his own Dial label with Illusions.
Following two critically-acclaimed albums for Mule Musiq, the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Yoyogi Park’ captures the Berlin-based artist, DJ and label-owner at home in a suitably deep landscape of sound. Throughout, his involving and human approach to electronic music feels more inviting and more necessary than ever. Rather than the dancefloors across Europe that Lawrence has so fruitfully soundtracked over the past few decades, the sound of ‘Illusions’ is inspired not only by his endless, constantly unfolding creative process, but a flurry of underground club gigs overseas including Japan and Mexico. In these close spaces, warmth and intimacy generate the atmosphere, and ‘Illusions’ is naturally blessed with a typically delicate touch that might surprise even long-time devotees of the artist. On close listen, acoustic instruments and subtle field recordings provide a natural bedfellow to Lawrence’s typically warm, earthy machine sound. Another influence is the artist’s real-time live project, Sky Walking, and their shows in intimate venues such as Berlin’s Acud and the legendary Golden Pudel Club in Hamburg. After pulling back the stage curtain with the mellow and inviting ‘Crystal’, the bubbling Lawrence grooves are quickly established on ‘Treasure Box’, alongside a complex but seductive tapestry of both electronic and acoustic sound. Before long the buoyant synths that drive ‘Yu Yu’ melt sensitively into a rich wash of strings. The second half of ‘Illusions’ conjures somewhat darker magic, tunneling more so into the darker, psychedelic impulse within Lawrence’s synthesis. ‘Transitions’ establishes an eerie atmosphere that’s complemented by ‘Dark Swirl’, in which a deep, bottom-heavy bass line dances around a dense, atmospheric forest of effects. The record concludes with perhaps it’s greatest moments of potential physical delight. Montreux divulges it’s details gradually yet beautifully, anchored by a powerful kick, while ‘Creepers’ finishes the show with a deeply resonant, melodic and altogether transcendent trip, a full-scale but understated soothing of the body and mind. Continuing his story as one of the most accomplished producers in electronic music, ‘Illusions’ finds Lawrence reflecting inward, back where he began. Able to conjure quietly breathtaking moments out of thin air, the intriguing effect of Lawrence’s music continues to resonate. John Thorp [txt from ]