David Toop, Akio Suzuki, Lawrence English – Breathing Spirit Forms (Room40, CD+book/digital)

It was a busy month for sound artist and Room40 founder Lawrence English: »Observation of Breath,« an LP with four haunting organ pieces, was released on the Hallow Ground label while »A Mirror Holds the Sky,« an album based on field recordings from the Amazon region, and »Breathing Spirit Forms,« a collaboration with David Toop and Akio Suzuki, were released on Room40. The label business has been running at full speed since last year, as English also—unnecessarily in an apologetic tone—underlines in a quite extensive and highly enjoyable interview with the newsletter magazine Tone Glow. There were 64 releases in 2020 and currently it looks as if English could even surpass that number in 2021. Very little of the material however has been produced in a rush, in fact most of it has matured slowly. English himself carried the field recordings from Brazil around with him for over a decade, and the joint sessions with Toop and Suzuki also date back several years. The three met on a mountain in south-eastern Australia for impromptu sessions, recorded by two microphones set up in the area. The result is a lively album that sometimes blurs the boundaries between man-made sounds—Suzuki scrubs a mirror with a sponge, English makes some radios roar—and ambient and animal noises. Which gives these old recordings a very contemporary feel at a time in which the relationship between man and nature is being discussed more thoroughly than ever before.

Disclaimer: field notes editor Kristoffer Cornils has worked with the Hallow Ground label on the »Observation of Breath« album.