For a long time, UK synthesist Paul Lawler has been making quality electronic music. He does so under a variety of names.
While the releases under his own name explore a wide range of contemporary electronic music, his Arcane releases delve into a world of darker tunes usually seething with delightfully ominous passages.
A full catalog of his recordings is now available as Digital Downloads.
PAUL LAWLER: Lost (DDL EP on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2012 features 27 minutes of ambient music.
These three ambient songs are a tribute to Mars explorer vessels.
The first begins softly, with tinkling bell in tandem with a mild surf in the background. Winsome effects travel through this calm vista, bleeping, warbling, sashaying, all enhancing the composition's pacific temperament.
The next piece continues using the crunchy ambience as a backdrop, this time for beeping radio signals and the desert wind on Mars, Soon, things begin to give way to a lilting chime chord. That wind gets colder, the beeps less frequent.
The third piece continues in the same vein, using many of the same elements. A fragile melody is delineated by a lonesome-sounding, reedy keyboard.
PAUL LAWLER: Opus (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2013 features 61 minutes of powerhouse electronic music.
Agile electronics combine with driving rhythms and astral guitar to generate worthwhile tuneage.
An array of electronics slithers through this music, but their presence is frequently relegated to secondary vantages by the other instruments' blustery demeanor. Even so, their immersed character gives these electronic pulsations the opportunity to secretly season other things. Their smoldering subtlety marks this music with an alluring undercurrent.
Sinuous keyboards deliver a plethora of melodies, often more than one at once, combining to create lush riffs, frequently employing diverse resonance. Some of the keyboard sequences cascade like silvery waterfalls; others pursue chords with serpentine delicacy; while other keys delineate passages of twinkling beauty.
The rhythms contribute a tasty degree of oomph to the music with their complex rhythms. From pounding drums to blooping e-perc rolls, the percussion is appropriately flavored to the tune at hand.
Whether it's belting out growling riffs or sinuous chords, the guitar shines. Its strings are adroitly caressed, unleashing vivacious riffs whose passionate cries pierce anything short of bunker concrete.
These compositions seethe with a vivid level of infectious puissance. The melodies possess a captivating authority, deftly aided by the squealing guitar embellishments. Brimming with bounciness and drama, these tunes deliver satisfaction with a vengeance.
PAUL LAWLER: Genesis Loops (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2013 features 48 minutes of experimental electronic music.
A series of often abstract sonic structures that explore what you can with electronic loops.
Track one counterpoints a set of sighing pulsations with a rainstorm. The result is haunting and harmonic.
The next loop pits an assortment of electronic effects against each other in a mild convergence, out of which emerges a wandering melodic hint, dogged by bouncy peripheral electronics.
In track three, dire tones create a realm of mysterious atmospherics through which a selection of beeps and deeply bass pongs meander as if searching for something.
The fourth piece ignites a void with electronic sparkles which begin to engage each other, twinkling in an oscillating tandem that produces auxiliary melodies.
Track five adopts a calmly melodic presence by blending swooping tonalities and the soft pitter of raindrops.
In the sixth piece, things get spacey with pulsating bloops and sparking diodes and a sparkling hint of keyboards. Things get rather hypnotic as the sounds sinuously interact.
The final loop introduces softly pulsing tones into a stream of wind. Some kind of nocturnal insects chitter away deep in the mix.
An interesting offering of abstract tunes with harmonic tendencies.
PAUL LAWLER: Confine (Original Movie Soundtrack) (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2013 features 67 minutes of diverse but bewitching electronic music.
This stuff is pretty aggressive for a soundtrack. The agro-industrial tunes establish a temperament of edgy tension.
And then there's a moody ambient piece with lilting keys and sighing tones. Followed by a lighthearted foray into sedately chiming keys accompanied by lithesome violin strains.
These songs are all short (fitting 27 of them into 67 minutes), so they each get right to the sonic point and express their sentiments. These moods vary, from ambient to agro to trancey to tense erupting into dramatic. They all differ, delivering a wondrous assortment of melodies.
While rhythms are sometimes utilized, and there are instances of "instruments" like synthesized strings, overt and versatile electronics rule here. Their range is extreme, from gently whispering sounds one minute to booming bass tones the next, then on to whirling pulsations and grinding electronics and metallic impacts.
There's actually a fair degree of strings (synthesized violins and cellos) employed in much of this music, balancing the electronics and injecting a semi-modern classical influence.
So many tracks and such a diversity of styles are offered, but one aspect remains common among all of these compositions: a skillful pursuit of uniquely attractive passages. Whether soft or overt, these melodies captivate the listener.
ARCANE: Gaijin (DDL EP on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2011 features 21 minutes of cosmic electronic music.
Two pieces of melodic electronic abstraction.
The first track begins with a rapid pitter that gives way to some heavenly chorales accompanying demonstrative one-keystroke keyboards, Soon, a crunchy rumble emerges in tandem with additional keyboard threads, the latter establishing a particularly retro demeanor. Everything mutates into a chugging pulsation fronting for a reedy electronic stream.
The second piece offers an inquisitive chord that is answered by a momentous bassline; a reedy tonality watches over the discourse. Things get awesomely exciting with the introduction of some cosmic guitar licks, swiftly elevating the tune in intensity. The guitar dominates the conversation, and does a superb job of delivering. The guitar goes astral for the finale, fading away.
Pretty good stuff.
ARCANE: Quarantine (DDL EP on href="http://www.paullawler.bandcamp.com"> Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2012 features 18 minutes of somewhat dire electronic music.
Three songs on this one...
The first piece is an agitated tune, swiftly giving vent to crunching impacts and dramatic keyboards tinged with grungy guitar punctuations. Sudden percussion ups the tension. The guitar starts offering a slowbuild riff that establishes a mood of thick puissance.
In the second song, the guitar adopts a forlorn twang, as do the supporting guitars that do an immediate follow-up. Rhythms and pensive bass tones provide this sad song with some depth.
The last one is energized by clockwork diodes that speed up into a whirring buzz and provide a keyboard drone with a spooky undercurrent. The introduction of drums in tandem with a chugging electronic blip give rise to some additional keys entering the mix with a growling guitar. A mood of anxious drama is tastily generated.
Some pretty intense tuneage in a desperate vein.
ARCANE: A Tale of Unease (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2012 features 58 minutes of haunting electronic music.
Electronics with an eerie edge produce equally haunting tuneage.
While a wide range of electronics are employed, from dire resonance to spry chords, the end-result emphasis is on creating a mysterious mood. Textural vapors exude a ghostly chill. Additional tonalities scuttle through the mix, manifesting as furtive embellishments.
Keyboards trigger many of the liquid threads that conspire to generate the lead melodies. These contributory keyboard riffs often throb with a subterranean character, their notes deep and guttural.
Rhythms play a vital role here, often in that synthesized, non-impact mode, bestowing certain songs with a rolling urgency.
One passage rich with synthesized strings conjures a realm of desolation punctuated by ray-gun sounds.
Enough mention has been made of this music's eerie sentiment. But there's more to these tunes than a spooky allure, their melodies are a fine blend of drifting ambience mounting into animated passages and sliding again back into a more sedate demeanor. These melodies are quite appealing; fluid, almost molten layers cascade together to form shimmering zeniths.
ARCANE: Glow (DDL EP on Paul Lawler Music)
This 2012 release features 19 minutes of moody electronic music.
Three pieces here...
The first track opens with sedate chords that establish a languid temperament of dreamy qualities. Gradually, though, the keyboard strains gain some muster until more energetic riffs sashay into play. The notes increase in discharge and puissance, adopting an ominous demeanor that is boosted by the introduction of percussion. Ultimately, a snappy tune is achieved before its uplifting conclusion.
In the next piece, edgier sounds evolve from a soft beginning into a spry pace, mixing with rhythms to produce an animated tune bristling with astral predilections. As the song progresses, traces of tension creep into the mix, bestowing the song with an air of drama.
The last song also features a mild opening which inevitably leads to a powerful sonic stance as drums contribute steadfast beats in conjunction with strident guitar chords. Meanwhile, the electronics explore a murky realm rich with tension and portentous developments.
The transition of mellow attitudes into more lively sentiments marks this music with a positive charisma.
ARCANE: Tomorrow's Wasteland (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This 2013 release features 64 minutes of dire electronic music.
There's a distinct amount of melodrama in the concept of imminent disasters, and these tunes convey that tension excellently and in an entertaining way.
The electronics are designed to emulate an elevated state of anxiety and communicate that through a variety of synthetic pulsations. These sounds, when applied to dire melodies, evoke a vivid tension that will not be shaken off. This music has a lasting effect.
These evocative resonances fuel a bevy of simultaneous keyboard threads. While each thread alone is interesting, together they form compelling melodies.
Some searing guitarwork lurks in the shadows of these tunes, and when it finally shows itself, those moments are heightened to euphoric levels.
Rhythms play a vital role here, through traditional drumming and via e-perc beats. The tempos lend a certain velocity to the tunes, propelling them through passages rich with enticingly desperate riffs.
The tunes have a way of establishing a level of tense drama, then gradually escalating that tension for long periods.
To further discuss the music's edgy nature would be redundant. Instead, let's consider the songs as pure compositions... The tunes are sinuous and hypnotic, but exhibit an adequate degree of oomph, boosting them from moody music to melodies that will actively stimulate your brain. Many feature spry passages that will enthrall the audience.
ARCANE: Holocaust 3000 href="http://www.paullawler.bandcamp.com"> Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2013 features 20 minutes of intense electronic music.
Three tunes this time...
The first one is a lively song with chugging e-perc and urgent keyboards and an almost anxious bass tone establishing the groundwork for some dynamic drums and regally-pitched synthesizer. The combination is outstanding.
The next track fosters some excellent eeriness with dire textures and forlorn electronic washes and erratically bleeping diodes, all swaddled up in a gritty fuzzball of angry sound that eventually wins out, consuming everything and issues a celebratory chorus of blips. A host of nasty noises swarm to pelt that nucleus, forcing it to withdraw into itself and become a twinkling star.
The last piece explodes forth with melodic grandeur. Dark tones coexist with sprightly notes, all geared toward an animated tune bristling with activity. Drums provide sneaky locomotion. Keyboards introduce slithery bridges, but always returning to that initial majesty. A very tasty tune.
A nice balance of dark and light, and enjoyable either way.
ARCANE: Revenants (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This 2014 release features 47 minutes of deadly electronic music.
A combination of deft electronics, cosmic guitarwork and nimble rhythms produces a wonderful dose of tasty tuneage.
The electronics flourish with sinister implications, from sequencer rolls rich with drama to peppery passages of contrasting sprightly riffs. While each mode plays off each other, the dominant spirit tends to land on the spooky side of things.
Most of the electronics are triggered by keyboards, resulting in melodies that tumble along, shining with an eerie luminescence. Instead of atmospheric texturals, a secondary (background) presence is accomplished by relegating existing riffs into deeper vantages within the dense mix.
The guitar offers some high altitude outbursts with squealing notes that cascade through the flow like the dazzling trails of meteorites plummeting to the Earth.
Rhythms are vital to this tuneage, not just in a locomotive fashion, but adding their own flavor of anxiety with emphatic tempos that are liable to elevate the audience's blood pressure.
While there's a certain versatility found in these compositions, they all feature strong traces of deadly implications. Electronic music as filtered through a haunted house, or used as a soundtrack for an intriguing zombie movie. This danger factor is relatively unique among contemporary EM composers, and in Lawler's hands it transforms the tunes into pulsating journeys into a thrilling ride on a dark rollercoaster.
MAX RICHTER: Portal (DDL EP on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2011 features 18 minutes of moody electronic music.
Max Richter is Paul Lawler.
Two songs on this EP...
The first piece is a moody composition bordering on the abstract with brooding tonalities, until a solid keyboard riff enters to dominate the terrain. Dogged by additional riffs, this central theme persists, while all else around it evolves in their attempts to change things (a task they achieve themselves while failing to deter the central theme).
The second piece has a sedate opening, cosmic and expansive, which eventually leads to livelier territory. Bouncy keys accompany nimble chords and bass tones, chasing each other, E-perc slides into play, and the pace picks up, getting more insistent.
Moody stuff that evolves a snappy beat.
AEROMANCY: Jam Session 1 (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2013 features 34 minutes of improvised electronic music.
Aeromancy is Paul Lawler and Paul Nagle.
A decent pair of improv pieces here.
The first has a seemingly aimless opening that eventually slides into place with some mournful tones and an undercurrent of growling electronics. A melody evolves from this, a looping sequence that shines with a crystalline ring.
The next piece generates a melody quicker and toys with it more. Shrill pitches blend with drippy keys. A strange mechanical nasal wail punctuates things until the drums come in and edge the music into a song structure. As things are about to devolve into a clash of shuddering pulsations, an angelic chorale enters the mix, lifting everything to a celestial level.
AEROMANCY: Jam Session 2 (DDL on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2014 features 30 minutes of bouncy electronic music.
Aeromancy is Paul Lawler and Paul Nagle.
This time, the pieces are more coherent, more melodic.
In track one: Slippery electronics interweave with bubbling diodes and snickering clicks and washing waves that agitate the diodes and then things get kinda crazy...but the piece retains its central theme. There are rhythms, but most of them are approximating beats through electronic generation. Harnessed clicks lay out an uncommon tempo.
The second piece erupts with strong tempos of an intricately ricocheting nature. Dense tones lumber about in the midground, disturbing a colony of gurgling diodes.
Next, ominous noises cluster, whirring, snarling, chittering, blooping, cascading and mixing it up together. A snickety pattern emerges, guiding things into a stubborn flow. A subsonic pulse beats out a subliminal tempo. The resulting tune is quite sinuous and full of dark charm.
The last track utilizes quasi-horns and sparkling tones to generate a spry melody punctuated by a chugging rhythm. A secondary keyboard offers a delightful embellishment to the main flow.
Some dark but bouncy stuff.
C-60: Wipeout (DDL EP on Paul Lawler Music)
This release from 2012 features 25 minutes of heavy-handed techno music.
C-60 is Paul Lawler.
Highly uptempo electronics with strong rhythms.
The electronics are dense and deep-voiced, the type found in techno music. Heavily reverberant bass tones produce a sinuous thread in several passages, often countered by some shrill injection (or as in one case, a funky popping bassline).
There's some wailing rock-out guitar in one song.
E-perc is vital to this music, not only providing propulsion but mirroring the choppy keyboard patterns. It's like the beats are motorized, their velocity can be dazzling.
These composition walk dangerously close to being dancehall techno songs. It's generally the application and mood that elevates this from that territory. The application is more mature, less frivolous; each chord has a masterful impact. The mood is one of cerebral activity, things in motion, but not necessarily one's feet, more like synapses. And yet, for all its heavy-handedness, the tunes are quite attractive.
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