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Glass Bird Movement


On their first album since 2010's Glow In The Dark Safari Set (MORR 099CD/LP), ISAN once more weave together electronic soundscapes, delicate rhythms and the occasional odd sound into a pulsating, ever-morphing whole. Glass Bird Movement is Antony Ryan and Robin Saville's eighth studio album since starting the project in the late '90s. Exchanging ideas between England and Denmark, ISAN have crafted an album which is reminiscent of heyday Boards Of Canada productions, the friendlier ventures of Aphex Twin or the most focused moments of Ulrich Schnauss, if you will. However, Glass Bird Movement (as subtle and impressive as their back catalog is) displays a strong signature. ISAN constantly move forwards without leaving their respective studios. And why should they - it's warm and dry in there and the kettle is always boiling. The title Glass Bird Movement is the product of a free associative process which reflects ISAN's creative methods and frames the eleven songs in a way that triggers the imagination. Communicating less about their music than rather with their music, Ryan and Saville together immerse themselves in complex structures without shutting out their audience. Instead, the friendly bouncing grooves of songs like "Napier Deltic", the washed out harmonies of the aptly titled "Risefallsleep" or the circular rhythms of the album's opener, "Cuckoo Down", have dream-like, inviting qualities to them. ISAN are particular about incorporating the element of chance, a sort of second-hand human touch, in their music. If it's a cheap keyboard that is only good for one note in one song alone or a tape loop cut by hand, anything can find its way into an ISAN song. Even though they take most of their inspiration from the machines they work with, they do not fetishize their gear - but play with it. Glass Bird Movement relies just as heavily on all those sonic idiosyncrasies as it does on the sophisticated rhythms and throbbing basses that form its foundation. One might call the music that ISAN make Intelligence Dance Music. However, be aware that there has reportedly only ever been one person seen dancing to it. Glass Bird Movement is likely best enjoyed where it is warm and dry, while the kettle is boiling. Artwork by Morr Music's in-house designer, Julia Guther.