Katie English, recording as Isnaj Dui is a multi instrumentalist working primarliy with flutes, and home made instrumentation such as the “electro dulcimer”. She creates lush, textural soundscapes with a pared down approach that is best described, and quantified as minimalism. At its best, one of the principle tenets of great minimalism is of not being afraid of ultra-simplicity. Isnaj Dui is the perfect exemplar of this approach, using the most economic means available to create wonderfully restrained soundscapes.
Opening track “Gently Severed” uses the electrodulcimer to pick out shards of notes, that are then looped and fed through silken swathes of reverb that gradually opens out into a beautifully rich tapestry of enveloping, delicious sound. English’s study of Indonesian Gamelan music, and her studies with alternative tonality are what largely inform her work, framing each piece with unique language, combined with electronic effects, distortions and and disturbances. The second track, “Five Years” very much yields to a more fractured approach, using sampled instrumentation which is then spliced and manipulated, to create strange shapes and interstices, harmonic intersections which at first appear at odds with any kind of traditional compositional technique, but that gradually swell and evaporate, floating like torn tissue paper in the breeze. Final track, “Lieunb” sees the flute take central position, floated over a tonal curtain, peppered with nagging, sparkling rhythms, that is infused with a Gamelan- like quality. This, being the latest release on the essential Smallfish Mini CD label, is a great example of why to buy into the whole series, a welcome and important addition to the field of minimalism, I hope to hear more from Isnaj Dui.BGN