Scott Lawlor is an ambient artist with an impressive, if almost completely digital, discography (any tech-savvy kids out there who know if there’s an alternative term about; perhaps fileography? Oggography? FLAC-catalog?). As usually when Archaic Triad stumble over new stuff, we dive right in without too much research into previous efforts. It’s more funner that way! Or more sadder, as in this case. On Regret, a seven track, self-released digital album, Mr. Lawlor has teamed up with The Gateless Gate to create one big piece of drone/guitar/keyboard/effect collaboration.
The result is rather interesting. Going back to things which have been covered previously on Archaic Triad, there are some similarities to Sardinian string based ambient like S.A.R.R.A.M. and December Hung Himself, but the Lawlor/Gate combination has in a way a more purely electronic sound. The chords and melodies are sad and ruminating, being nominally centered around a theme of “autumnal feelings of melancholy and regret”, but there are also some lighter, dreamy sensations emerging from the pads.
Each track is based on a fairly monotonous drone, mutating slightly, with a variety of soft, melancholic sounds and melodies building various ambient structures inside and on top of it. This division is probably made more obvious because of the fact that it is laid out in the release notes, because it is really not as obvious as it could have been. The various sounds, guitars included, are in fact quite merged together, and form huge, shifting bubbles of depressive electronica.
As for the theme, Regret is obviously a very bleak piece of music. The “autumnal” part is something this reviewer can’t really find, except perhaps in the crow samples on “Regret Part 7”. Unlike the aforementioned Sardinian artists, Regret is more sterile and cold, and do not really evoke images of nature or seasons at all. This means that it strips off any or most romantic notions from the depressed condition, returning the definition of “melancholia” to the original, Hippocratic one: long-lasting feelings of depression and despondency, caused by an excess of black bile. There is certainly beauty here, but it is a terse and unloving one. Perhaps a little nature creeps in anyway: an evening sky, appreciated intellectually while in a state of emotional devastation, basically.
This fine collaboration is available as a digital download for whatever you’d like to pay for it from Scott Lawlor’s Bandcamp page.