The isolation tank refers to the bio-adapter, an idealized artificial environment proposed by Austrian futurist Oscar Wiener. Designed to facilitate both sensory deprivation and functional sufficiency, Wiener's uterus-like conception is intended as "a total solution of the world's problems." While the bio-adapter remains a bit of ideological fancy, MUSIC FOR AN ISOLATION TANK offers the next best thing: an acoustic approximation of how the bio-adapter experience might sound.
Not many recordings advise listening with earplugs, let alone via speakers immersed in water and at a near-inaudible level, for maximum effect. For all practical purposes, a dark room and a comfortably prostrate state should suffice. Fennesz, Zeitblom, and Rantasa supply the audio clues--the lapping of amniotic liquid, osmotic suck(l)ing sounds, diffused beeps and bumps, the muffled murmurs of bio-adaptive transmitters--that set the mood. Tremendous shudders and the steady drizzle of sampled information kick the imagination into high gear. Fennesz's fingerprint is evident in the shimmering, liquid crystal quality and clarity of the disc's digital sounds. MUSIC FOR AN ISOLATION TANK was first realized as an installation at 1999's phonoTAKTIK festival. This recording admirably recreates the experience, evoking immersion and isolation through digital artifice.