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Lawrence: Lowlights From the Past and Future

Lawrence: Lowlights From the Past and Future

Label:Mule Electronic
Release Date:2007

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 9/12/2007

"Lowlights" is about right--not in achievement, but in terms of communication. Peter M. Kersten, the German producer who records as Lawrence, is one of the most deliberately low-key practitioners in dance music; even in the world of minimal techno, he's as notable for how much he leaves out as what he puts in. But he's a quiet master of light and shade, and what he keeps around he puts to precise work. 2002's Lawrence isn't an album that announces its own greatness; that fact becomes plain only once you realize that reaching over to put the thing on has become less a decision than an instinct.

Lowlights From the Past and Future doesn't have the internal logic of a thought-through album; as the title indicates, it's a compilation. But Kersten's touch is both sure and instantly recognizable: gauzy keyboards playing child-simple tunes over basic house pulses that feel unhurried even after they've breezed past the 120-bpm mark. Four of these 11 tracks are remixes for other artists, and they constitute some of the best stuff here: the kudzulike strings and creep-and-click percussion of Turner's "My Aeroplane Mania"; the deliriously wet vocals of Superpitcher's "Happiness" turned into launching pads for water-droplet piano notes and synth pads suspended like spider webs. Still, the compilation's masterwork is "Spark," originally from a 2004 single, whose ominous layers of crystalline keyboards could score a missing rave scene in an updated Edgar Allan Poe story.

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