In my previous post on Lawrence English, I noted how his music feels like a slice of the micro world slowed down and forced into a huge macro space. I keep coming back to the word “lumbering” because the sounds seem to have a physical mass, which makes sense — according to English, The Peregrine is largely about nature, about landscape and minute details juxtaposed against their overwhelming surroundings. More specifically, the album is a homage to a book by J.A. Baker, also titled The Peregrine, which chronicles a year of the author’s obsessive observations of two peregrine falcons in the wild. Such focus on birds performing instinctively in their natural habitat inevitably contrasts our own identities against the indifferent functionality of nature, until the viewer or author begins to disappear. The same concealing of authorship and ego can also be seen in this ‘ambient’ or drone music, which often focuses on minute details — as distinguishing factors — set against a larger shared landscape. English has this to say about the loss of ‘humanness’ in J.A. Baker’s text, which I think is offered as a parallel to the Peregrine’s music as well:
At no point does the idea of humanness come to dominate — in fact human kind merely appears as haunting images that, as Baker summarizes, ‘stink of death’. Elegantly misanthropic. Even the author remains oddly mute — we never discover anything about him, not what he does, how he lives or even where he sleep or eats. He is merely a conduit through which land is rendered.