Scott Lawlor – “Age of Anxiety” Album Review

Age of Anxiety – Scott Lawlor

As I walked out of work while listening to track 1, “So Long as the Mind is Split,” something immediately hit me.  Rarely does this happen to me while listening to a noise recording.

While walking out, a helicopter was landing on the landing pad of the hospital. Oddly enough, the sounds and effects at the beginning of “So Long as the Mind is Split” sound a bit similar to a helicopter winding up or shutting down….at least against a dark ambient/death industrial backdrop.

Then it hit… Noise music does something not many other styles do.  Depending on the environment that the listener is in at the time, noise can be a sonic link between the listener and the physical world around….on a train, in a car with a 6 cylinder engine, where ever.

In this case, the connection was created by the mind of Scott Lawlor, an extraordinarily prolific and diverse artist from Texas; one who occasionally drifts slightly to the left of the ambient realm into drone and even noise.  Age of Anxiety is one of Scott’s noisier releases which he put out back in November of 2016.  We decided to cover it due to it’s great mix of ambient, noise, drone and even death industrial.

It’s diversity cannot simply be measured in styles however.  While listening to each track, one might envision the environment they might find themselves in while drawing connection to the music.   Track 2, “Life is Perpetual Conflict” is a predominantly darkened death industrial soundscape track with a slowly growing blackened noise and occasional discordant synth hits.  Track 3, “Suffering is Piled on Suffering” drifts back into the noisy/ambient realm with a windy/wave-like effect as in track 1 along with a hint of sporadic upper frequencies.  This might be the best example of  dynamics in which Mr. Lawlor can go from the minimal to the very complex even within one piece let alone from style to style which he does as well.

The best way to describe Mr. Lawlor’s work on this release is like field recordings from both realistic and imaginary locations….listening to a battle from the other side of a wall…bombs being dropped, tanks moving along, passing through a subterranean wind-tunnel.

There are a number of reasons why we listen to noise-related recordings which I have mentioned in posts before.  However, as I mentioned this album makes us mindful of one reason that is often overlooked…. how this art can act as a connection between us, the listeners and our immediate physical surroundings.

Age of Anxiety has 4 tracks totaling nearly 80 minutes and is still available as a digital release.  Scott has an incredible discography in a range of styles.  There’s room for everyone.

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