Dominique Lawalrée – Traces

Dominique Lawalrée - Traces LP front cover
Dominique Lawalrée - Traces LP back cover
Dominique Lawalrée - Traces LP side A

Belgian composer, keyboard player and educator Dominique Lawalrée, born in Brussels in 1954, studied music in Namur and began composing in 1973. With a name inspired by his love of The Beatles (I Am the Walrus, 1967), Lawalrée launched Walrus records in 1976 when he was only 22 years-old. Walrus was the vehicle of choice for the release of his own music, though he also published a great 2xLP compilation with Baudouin Oosterlynck, Eric de Visscher and Robert Fesler in 1984 (W.L.S. 012/13). Lawalrée’s music until the mid-1980s is a delightful mix of synthesizer exploration in the vein of Brian Eno and Roedelius, piano minimalism à la Satie, as well as personal ideas in the form of field recordings, sound collages and spoken word – for instance, his 1983 mini-LP Six jours à Barcelone (6 Days in Barcelona) included bird sounds. In the 1980s, Dominique Lawalrée also collaborated with musical ensemble TEMV with a.o. composers Guy de Bièvre, Boudewijn Buckinx, Dieter Kaufmann, Jurgen Rapp or Arsène Souffriau. Electroacoustic music composer Annette Vande Gorne was the sound engineer on several Lawalrée LPs of the 1980s like Taciturne and Litanies du Monde à Venir. At the end of the 1980s, Lawalrée changed the name of Walrus to Music Today, the label through which he releases all his music… today (see website).

Published in 1978, Lawalrée’s 3rd LP Traces – the 4th Walrus release – is an instrumental sound diary of sorts, with tracks relating to personal experiences, memories and anecdotes. Immediately striking is the palpable nostalgia permeating this disc, a trait typical from this composer. The LP is also notable for the variety of techniques and experiments, something which will be less present in later solo piano albums. From the backward running tape and electronic drone of the opener to the noisy sound collage of tr. #5 K7 Music, or the atonality and furious dissonant piano chords of #4 First Meeting, the LP clearly documents early experiments in music making. Some tracks also pay homage to Lawalrée’s major influences, like #07 Hello, You’re The W. inspired by The Beatles, and #8, a Satie homage. The strange wordless singing on #06 Pleine Lune reminds Baudouin Oosterlynck’s own work with disabled people.

01 Post-Scriptum (4:45)
02 Well ! (:32)
03 Waiting For The Bus (3:48)
04 First Meeting … (5:12)
05 K7 Music (6:18)
06 Pleine Lune : Insomnie (2:33)
07 Hello, You’re The W. (5:08)
08 Musique Satieérique (1:46)
09 Et Caetera (1:36)
10 Mouvements III (2:21)
11 Minimum II (2:36)
12 Le Temps Fuit Sans Retour (4:42)
13 For Alexandre (1:31)

Total time 43:00
LP released by Walrus, ref. W.L.S. 004, Brussels, Belgium, 1978


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Partial discography until 1985
(all on Walrus Records):

1976 Infinitudes, W.L.S. 001
1977 Le choix du titre est un faux problème, W.L.S. 003
1978 Traces, W.L.S. 004
1978 Brins d’herbes, W.L.S. 005
1979 Vis-à-vis, W.L.S. 006
1980 Vice-versa, W.L.S. 010
1982 Clandestin, W.L.S. 011
1983 Six jours à Barcelone e.p., ref. S1
1984 Still life, W.L.S. 012/13
1984 Taciturne, W.L.S. 014
1985 Litanies du Monde à Venir, W.L.S. 015

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10 Responses to “Dominique Lawalrée – Traces”

  1. 1 daniel70 October 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Totally wonderful; many thanks for this introduction! Ik hope to be able to scurry some more of his stuff up through his own website (via discogs at least the price is way high!)

  2. 2 daniel70 October 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

    (And what about his picture figured on discogs – brilliant! If you’d tell me this is all another Ultra Eczema scam – ncf. edmond de Deyster – i’d believe it instantly… Although this is in fact much much better – dare i say, truthfuller – than that…)

  3. 3 continuo October 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Thank you, Daniel. For people in the know, Lawalrèe is a genius.

  4. 4 Nick Hennies October 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Wow, thank you. I’ve wanted to hear his music for a long time and haven’t been able to find a thing,

  5. 5 continuo October 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Glad to be able to help.

  6. 6 John Hanson October 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    stunning sleeve design, too. does lawalrée have a background in graphics?

  7. 7 continuo October 2, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Not that I know. He only studied music and earned a living as an educator.

  8. 8 Daniel Urria (@gesticulator) October 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you again. Every time i visit i find a new unknown jewel.

  9. 9 continuo October 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for dropping by, Daniel. I guess you’d get bored if you’d visit more often!

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