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Dominique Lawalrée has died

The Belgian composer, keyboard player and Editions Walrus label owner has died aged 64

Dominique Lawalrée was born near Brussels in 1954. Mostly self-taught as a composer, and from a musical family, he would go on to study music education at the Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie (IMEP) at Namur in Belgium. In what he described as a conservative education, he would offer fellow students his own lectures on contemporary music, an experience that would lead to him teaching music right up until his death.

It was during this period that Lawalrée co-founded the Editions Walrus imprint in 1976 alongside producer Jean-Pierre Hermand, releasing a string of his solo records that would build into a discography of over 500 releases and 29 albums. Focusing on slow-paced instrumental works, his output was aligned with both the New Simplicity movement and ambient music. His admirers included composers Gavin Bryars, Wim Mertens and Brian Eno.

In 1994 he took a pilgrimage to Medjugorje: “I experienced a profound relation with God,” he told Robert Barry in The Wire 404, “and my life did change after that.” His release schedule slowed down as time focused on music increased. “I think that my compositions since 1994 are the result of more work. What I’m sure of is that I have got other sources of inspiration.” The music would now take the form of religious concert music that he would continue to write until 2016. Apparently Eno once expressed interest in publishing Lawalrée’s recordings on Obscure Records.

In 2017 Catch Wave Ltd released First Meeting, a collection of his self-released titles composed between 1978–1982.

Subscribers can read Robert Barry's interview with Dominique Lawalrée via Exact Editions.