(Penny Poppet)

Isolde is the duo of Andrew Chalk and Robin Barnes, this being their first full-length release after a cassette and a 3-inch CD. The connections deployed in “On waving and drowning” are pretty much the same of Chalk’s productions under his own name, but with a different kind of tension, possibly deriving from the use of urban sources that get mixed with the “regular” sounds – if this adjective has still a value in music like this. The first section is a calm introduction of sorts, rarefied plucked strings (…piano notes?) as usual immersed in a thick fog with distant surrounding whispers and temporally undetermined recollections. During the second movement the music reaches an intense climax, as the sonic mass grows into an overwhelming scary clangour that nevertheless maintains a mantric relevance – think Mirror’s crescendos bathed in post-industrial enigmatic illness. The third and final part is the best, with deep drones similar to bombers in flight taking centre stage, putting our wholeness in a vibrational catharsis, transforming our body into an aerial through which the sounds of life are amplified and reproduced in different guises. Once again, we find ourselves in the condition of having to re-evaluate our lists of priorities according to a temporary mental state. On top of all this, Isolde’s deeply meaningful emanations are protected by a gatefold cover featuring a splendid artwork. Not to be missed.

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