Released shortly before the gorgeous A Colour for Autumn, It's Up to Us to Live features a darker side of Lawrence English, while remaining true to his artistic research and well-honed style. The peculiar nature morte adorning the cover (a painting by Marian Drew) is already an indication of what lies within: a mixture of calm and disquiet, expected and unexpected. For this album both follows English's modus operandi and steps away from it. The music is all experimental ambient drones, textural overlays of digital sounds and treated guitars, but there is also a harsher noise component (akin to what can be head on his Kiri No Oto CD), and a sense of... despair? It's nothing shocking or particularly striking -- in fact, even that feeling is typically English-ian: delicate, nuanced, insidious. It's Up to Us to Live is a good album, not as esthetically pleasing or downright beautiful as some of his other works, but tracks like "About the End," "Genuine Reflected," or the long and ultimately grating "The Slow Weave" are very strong individually. Just don't come to English's music through this particular release.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture