Isolée's kingdom is a kind of Switzerland of electronic dance music—a neutral ground where disparate traditions can coexist and cross-breed: house, minimal, electro, what have you. Call it parliamentary techno. But unlike the Swiss, who, as Orson Welles points out in The Third Man, have in three hundred years only managed to come up with the cuckoo clock, Isolée's restless and versatile talent has allowed him to consistently utilize the hybrid roots of his sound in unpredictable ways. So while the sonic territory Isolée initially opened up was surely broad and fertile enough to continue yielding a solid harvest for years to come, October shows he's still got the urge to explore and enough navigation sense not to start digging on fallow ground.
In other words, don't pick up October expecting to hear something derived from either of his landmark albums, Rest and Wearemonster, because the man's on the move again—perhaps already visible in the switch from Playhouse to Diynamic. Absent here are several of Isolée's trademarks, like the softly-acidic melody lines and general spare, clean-lined modernism. Furthermore, the usual relation of parts to whole has shifted. While Isolée's Wearemonster-era tracks are organized so that a plethora of miniature sounds can bubble and percolate together in a kind of pointillistic whole, the two offerings here forego such tactical restraint: they're much more unmoored from guiding musical threads, sweeping and swerving in counterintuitive twists, leaving you alternately enthralled and perplexed.
But while in each tune it might not be immediately apparent what Mr. Müller is up to, that doesn't mean it isn't highly entertaining to try and guess. "October" begins as a micro-focused tech-house pulser, and gets enveloped by an array of filtered fragments that appear as if they might burst out onto center stage at any moment, but instead they remain somewhat frustratingly in the wings. Pads give fleeting emotional rise, but they're swept off the scene before any real anthemic swell can gather. Then "A Nightingale" pushes you in media res into a murky excursion through a techno rainforest, so lush and teeming that you lose all sense of entrance and exit points, your orientation marked only by lush resonant wisps that pass like clouds seen above a clearing. Although this pair might not be as immediately mindblowing as the Isolée material you're most likely already familiar with, they're nonetheless full of microcosmic delights—rewinds and repeats are recommended.
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Tracklist: Isolée - October A October
B A Nightingale
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