Dominique Lawalrée (b. 1954) is a composer born and based in Brussels. First Meeting is Lawalrée’s first archival release to date. Culled from four different albums originally self-published on his private label Editions Walrus, circa 1978-1982, this compilation highlights the composer’s unique sense of ambient and minimal composition. Originally considered for release on Brian Eno’s Obscure Records, Lawalrée’s music is now no longer hidden.
In this collection the listener finds the sounds of piano, synthesizers, percussion, wurlitzer, organ, and voice, all performed by Lawalrée. Using these tools Dominique creates miniature themes that gallop across the speakers in slow motion, stretching our normal sense of dynamics and color, effortlessly widening the stereo plane. On “Musique Satieerique,” Dominique pays homage to the influence of Satie with simple repeated piano figures and a lush field of organs and flutes. And on other selections, like “Le Maison Des 5 Elements,” he takes a more wistful, ambient approach, layering keyboard lines, and invoking found/tape sounds to create a hypnogogic world of his own. Childlike in its playfulness and surreal to the bone, the music spins like a carrousel placed inside the Rothko Chapel. Lawalrée’s sense of timbre, tone, and overarching composition is like an impression of a home movie whose charm lies in its knowledge of intimacy, shared by few. An incantation of innocence.