Sensaround – Isotropes (3 stars)

Intriguing experiment of electro-acoustic improvisation from electic trio



Isotropes sees Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra saxophonist Raymond McDonald splashing around in a digital bubblebath with Australian musicians Alister Spence and Shoeb Ahmad. Come on in, the water's lovely. Sensaround's electro-acoustic improvisation relies on relatively lo-tech kit; there are no laptops running complex algorithms here, just a few effects pedals and samplers alongside McDonald's reeds and Spence's Fender Rhodes piano. Filtered and flipped, the fuzzy keys become a gurgling mass of liquid and gas, not unlike the subaquatic realms conjured on Drexciya's 1999 techno classic Neptune's Lair. On first listen, there's not a great deal of development to these textures, with Spence's playing seemingly lost in the whirlpool. But over time subtle details emerge: green seaweed undulating in the current, tiny fish oscillating. McDonald soars over it all with beautiful siren calls and swooping seagull tones. An intriguing experiment which bodes well for any future encounters.


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