Well, after my rave review of Isnaj Dui’s Mini CD release on Smallfish, I didn’t have to wait too long for the second full length Isnaj Dui collection from the Fbox vaults. The delightful “Patterns in Rocks” sees Katie English flexing her musical muscles on a release that is at once philosophical and deeply meditative. Once again Isnaj Dui (the aforementioned Ms English) brings her gamelan-infused sensibilities into play, this time, however, we see a broader spectrum of sounds, a much more expansive atmosphere, and dare I say it, Patterns sees the composer at a more mature stage with her overall sound.
Unlike the closely focussed, intimate sounding debut album, Patterns in Rocks capitalises on an impressive array of live performances to crystallise into a more coherent and accomplished body of work. Once again, the home made “electrodulcimer” puts in numerous appearances, alongside shimmering flutes and sketchy rhythms. “Nirily” oozes with atmospherics and a haunting, gaseous central theme that envelops and swirls, gradually opening out into plucked rhythmic strings that sweep and sway. This is followed by the ultra minimal tonal workout, “440”, and a bleepy, intriguingly titled “Plagioclase Feldspar”. “Just as the Circle Did” returns to a vaporous, layered flute refrain, peppered with a translucent, incidental electronic rhythm.
The success of this collection lies in the Isnaj Dui production technique, whereby all elements are deliberately created with a “live” feel, and live is obviously how she performs best. This a deliberate move, designed to counteract the “inorganic qualities” so prevalent in the world of laptop based music. Here, multi-tracking is a carried out on the spot, and all of the instrumentation is looped “live”, and crash-edited, giving the whole collection a feeling of spontaneity and vibrancy, and on Patterns in Rocks, it works so well.
Housed in a gorgeous paper cover festooned with tech-gnostic line art courtesy of James English , Patterns in Rocks elegantly fuses gamelan, folk, and electro-acoustic minimalism in one deft release..a worthy addition to any serious collection. BGN