Isola – ‘EP1’: icy house and techno experiments on mysterious and innovative debut

Forged in the Las Vegas desert, fans of Jayda G and Park Hye Jin will fall for this collection of intricately-crafted soundscapes and understated club bangers

Here’s what we know about Isola so far; she is based in the Las Vegas desert and believes “there is music hidden in every sound around us – the howl of wind, the whirr of traffic, the blank hum of a refrigerator”. This debut release, ‘EP1’ is released on Godmode, the record label that’s brought us releases from Channel Tres and Yaeji, and has even been co-produced by the company’s co-founder, Nick Sylvester. That’s about it.

Such elusiveness and mystique actually works in her favour on her genre-blurring debut collection ‘EP1’, which fuses Isola’s glassy near-ASMR whispers with glitchy bleeps, minimal house and dub techno.

On upbeat six-minute opener ‘Ischia’ – the EP’s club-friendly highlight – rubbery synths glide beneath icy yet hopeful whispers about togetherness before the infectious house beat kicks in. The softly excitable ‘whoop’ that arrives halfway delivers a well-timed energising jolt, placing it as the cousin of Yaeji’s equally infectious ‘Raingurl’ as it shape-shifts from an idyllic ease-into-the-night moment into an understated deep house banger.

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It blends effortlessly into the spectral ‘Any Day’, on which whirring synths and Isola’s optimistic but distorted vocal pulse over a deep house dub beat, climbing towards a state of eventual euphoria; it’s the kind of lush multi-layered composition that would have fit perfectly on Kelly Lee Owens’ recent album ‘Inner Song’.

The subtly infectious ‘Said It Again’ glides on a similar path, though it’s Isola’s captivatingly angelic vocals that really sells it. ‘Canis Major’ and ‘La Notte’, meanwhile, act as ambiguous scene-setting interludes, as Isola reaches breathily distorted vocal highs atop ominously eerie piano keys. The final and longest track, ‘Ricorda – Tell Me’, clocks in at just under eight minutes and perfectly fuses the innovative song-writing and musicianship of the previous six songs.

By naming her debut without connotations, ‘EP1′ gives Isola the artistic freedom to explore multiple ideas at once while conjuring contrasting vibes across each of its seven tracks. ‘EP1’ marks confident first steps of an innovative artist whose intricately-crafted compositions are breathing new life into experimental electronica, and deserves closer inspection to allow discovery of its intricacies. The artwork – that of organisms hustling and bustling under a microscope – is a fitting one.

Details

  • Release date: October 2
  • Record label: Godmode
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