Isolée, Albacares

[Mule Electronic]

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Based on some of the stuff you read these days, you might think it was settled and agreed that we chalk up “October Nightingale” as a misstep in Rajko Müller’s respected career. Myself, I think it’s among the year’s highlights. Surely, plunging into the depths of “A Nightingale” was one of my spring’s richest pleasures. All this is rather beside the point, though, as 2009’s second Isolée record is something else entirely. “Albacares” uses a dipping, mildly kitsch bass guitar groove as the repetitious axis around which Isolée’s vast network of effects, artifacts, and doodads orbit and collaborate. Another of his fusions of disco, post-punk; and can we still use the term micro-house? The magic is in the details, which include jingling bells, sci-fi hums, and a little lover’s rock guitar. It’s a powerhouse of gleaming sound design, the track’s disparate elements drifting about your ear space, creating a big-room feel even on modest headphones. Not quite like anything in Isolée’s catalog, it’s nevertheless clearly the work of the mind behind “Rest,” “I Can’t Sleep All Night,” and “Schrapnell” — something I probably wouldn’t have said about his last record.

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“Les Andalouses” is less of a departure, almost a hypothetical We Are Monster bonus track (y’know, for the $60 Japanese pressing). With a little less swing and a little more filter, this is the sort of percolating bits-and-bobbins house that ingratiated Isolée’s work to most of us in the first place. Where his other tracks from ’09 have stood out for all the ways they’re different, this one should assuage those who understandably wish Isolée never change. It’s a slight track, playing more as buzzing transition than hook-laden banger. Still, it’s definitely a pleasure to reminisce on the back-in-the-day with this old friend.

Adamm  on July 8, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Wow. This is stellar, will be on the lookout for this to drop. It’s really nice to hear someone pushing disco in a different direction, more of this, please.

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