Veteran house producer and Dial Records boss Lawrence has been making music for more than a decade now, and at this point, his production style can essentially be boiled down into one simple concept: deep, thoughtful tunes. Granted, after all these years, it's something he does very well, and "Kurama," his latest single and first outing on DJ Koze's Pampa imprint, finds Lawrence maintaining his usual high standards. Yes, it's minimal, but it's also rather well done.
"Kurama" was inspired by the mountain in Kyoto of the same name, a serene locale which Lawrence attempts to encapsulate in his 10-plus-minute track. The drums are simple and subdued, initially serving as little more than a metronome and only building slightly as the song proceeds. The tune's real beauty lies in its synths, which are light, airy, and vaguely recall the peaceful feeling one might expect to find in a Japanese temple. (In all fairness, we haven't actually spent a ton of time in Japanese temples, but the sonic zen of "Kurama" represents the vibe we'd like to find if we did.)
On the flip side, "Oolong High" was made with a different sort of Asian experience in mind—namely, a drink which combines cold Oolong tea with Japanese Shochu liquor. While it's not exactly a party cut, perhaps this imbibed inspiration is the guiding force behind the song's more upbeat feel, most notably in it's peppier percussion. As the track proceeds, Lawrence folds in a smattering of the airy pads that colored "Kurama," but "Oolong High" never relaxes along the same lines as its partner on the a-side, even with its additional runtime, which eventually clocks in at nearly 12 minutes. This one is deep, but it's also designed for the dancefloor.
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