Review: Isnaj Dui – Abstracts On Solitude

Abstracts In Solitude opens with what appears to be a stark contrast. Two minutes of gently weaved flute clouds fades out, and a warm buzz and stutter of electronics takes its place. Before long, the two emerge into duet – circuit board loops squeaking and buzzing in a steady loop, woodwind swooping over the top, strung out blissfully across the electronic noise’s dependable return. English’s slim, almost monophonic audio mix places one directly on top of the other, with musical sighs and machine squelch entwined, and when the two begin to sound unusually effortless in eachother’s company, one begins see that English’s timbral marriages work not only to feed off the juxtaposition, but to shed light on the inner similarities too.

Further on, English shifts focus to mesmerising repetitions of dulcimer, which punch little holes in the faint trace of birdsong (or is that more electronics? It’s tricky to tell) and stutter through loops of glaringly detuned notes, like a machine driven on a set of warped cogs. Her fixation on a small instrument palette (with, save for a dose of reverb and delay, minimal processing), allows her to climb right up inside these sounds, and she acquaints herself with each twitch and modulation until they become extensions of her own movement. And while at first the listener feels as though they’re peering in on Abstracts On Solitude through a keyhole, it’s remarkable how quickly one is drawn into English’s impassioned and intricate way of working, to the point at which the music seems to be flowing through the recipient’s body like blood itself.