Artist
ISAN[11]
ISAN
Descette
Secret Furry Hole
/
2013
EP
10.79
SFH-15
Incl. VAT plus shipping / Orders from outside the EU are exempt from VAT
Tracklist
1Padilion 1:01
2Do Not Feed 1:59
3Shack 2:57
4Stumble 2:11
5Lombo 2:32
6Candidate 2:43
7Insufficient Pressure Achieved 3:11

One-sided 12" EP (coming with D/L code) limited edition: 200 copies, double 350 gr. recycled paper sleeve, hand screen-printed! 7 tracks of very analogue cassette loop music. all compositions performed by antony ryan and robin saville with additional production by sanyo auto stop and sony cassette-corder TC-129.

"Descette is an album based on old, half-forgotten cassettes and tape loops. Such inspirations usually mean long, decaying pieces, the dust of nostalgia and sombre meditations on memory, and Isan do manage to tick a couple of those boxes occasionally. “Lombo” is a sparse, stuttering track, glitchy melody and glitchy rhythm with an undercurrent of static. The loop sounds half-forgotten, like trying to remember a song you learned a long time ago, hesitating over the notes.

But most of the rest of the album is surprisingly upbeat, even chirpy. It retains some of the glitches and hesitancies, but the remembering is joyful. Isan take delight in re-discovering something they almost forgot was there to be discovered. “Padilion” opens Descette with a short slice of bright, shiny melody. What scratches there are to show the track’s age are homely, rather than the regretful fog of, for example, The Caretaker. The piece is mobile, alive and inviting, as if beckoning the listener to take a pleasant dive into their memory along with the artist. Music about memory has often focused on its darker aspects – the sadness of forgetting things, the cynicism of age, the decay of things aging. These things are easily found in The Caretaker or William Basinski. Even the recent wave of nostalgia and retromania, with its bright synths and pleasant warmth, actually hides a more depressing thought – that things were better in the past. Isan take a very different path.

It’s easy to forget that sometimes that ambient music can be fun too. Descette, with its block-coloured artwork and its light, cheery electronics is an unashamedly fun album. It might not all be pure happiness (it certainly isn’t sickly) but it avoids the weighty emotions that concern much experimental music. It might not quite be danceable, but you can sure nod and sway a bit to it. It’s probably not even right to call the music ‘ambient’. It’s certainly too active and intrusive for Brian Eno’s theory of ambient music. The bubbling melody of “Do Not Feed” is far more playful than anything that would usually be expected from an ambient album, especially one taking memory as its theme. The light beat of “Shack” could almost be called electronica, if it weren’t for the track’s lack of focus on rhythm and its overlapping polyphony. At times, Descette could even be – whisper it – commercial. It’s not difficult to imagine “Padillion” with a sleek music video, or accompanying a particularly brilliant car advert.

All of this is not to say that Descette is in any way vapid. It’s possible to read into the story, brief as it is, of the album’s conception, and the cover image of (ant)arctic explorers. It’s an album about journeys and the pleasure of exploring, but it also resists any further reading into it. After the reflection of “Lombo” comes another sleek melody in “Candidate”. Above all, Descette is enjoyable. Any attempts to force a deeper significance on it are largely unsuccessful, particularly given the brevity of the seven tracks – individually and together. There’s almost no other way to consume Descette except to just sit back and relax in it for half an hour. And therein lies the album’s importance, which arrives surprisingly easily, not through any intense critical assessment. It’s important to remember that remembering can be fun, joyful and pleasurable in spite of its simultaneous nostalgia, sobriety and even sadness." - Matt Gilley for Fluid Radio