ISAN

Salle d'Isan

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A shorter effort from the isan duo, Salle d'Isan finds Robin Saville and Antony Ryan continuing to work on their blend of Warp-tinged electronics and just-shoegazed-enough texture, with some sharp results. The advantage to their sound -- at once of its time and drawing on logical 1970s-era forebears -- is that it never quite resolves into obvious cloning, rather coming up with a new mixture uniquely its own. Thus the opening "Days & Later" contains almost naïve-sounding keyboard melodies from the earlier days of ambient synth while also having a just-strong-enough slow electro-funk beat and bassline -- maybe not danceable as such but not just music to contemplate by either. The blend of gauzy almost-feedback and soft keyboard swirls and beats on "Fullen Drimm" is another sharp example of how the band readily recombines its influences, making it all the more unsurprising that the duo ended up on and helped define the ethos of the gaze-inspired Morr Music label. Perhaps the best track is, unfortunately, one of the shortest -- "Bubblese," under a minute of sweet melody and brisk, uptempo beat -- but being followed by the easygoing "Disruptive Elephant," which could almost be a child's lullaby for a young robot. Its unexpected slight shift toward a more martial rhythm at the end, though subtle, is a fine moment of quiet drama.

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