- It's about damned time. Isolee was all but AWOL there for a few years, and then last year he finally turned up with new EPs for Mule Electronic and Diynamic, and a handful of remixers for folks like Onur Ozer, Ripperton and Ed Banger's Mickey Moonlight (huh?) followed. Now, after almost a year and a half since the last EP, he's back with a two-track single for Dial. For this diehard Isolee fan, anyway, it was worth the wait.
Don't go looking too closely for traces of his great 2005 album We Are Monster; in the past five years, Rajko Muller has backed away from the squelchy funk of that album. At a time when underground house and techno were pruning back to bare branches, We Are Monster felt positively, purposefully overgrown. Now that minimalism's a dirty word, Isolee seems to be stripping back his own approach. Both tracks sound more Smallville than Dial, really, with their warbly, repetitive grooves. "The Fantastic Researches of Yushin Maru" is hypnotizing as a rock tumbler, with weirdly burnished tones churning over and over; you need to listen to its full nine minutes, preferably multiple times, to fully appreciate Isolee's gift for stretching time, laying out luminous synthesizer lines to lead you deep into his befuddling alternate reality. The strategy isn't all that different from Villalobos', but Isolee's teasing is warm and sensual in ways wholly distinct from the Chilean's nervous prickle.
"Torn" is tougher, with spiky syncopated stabs and purposeful, rolling sub bass. Formally, it sounds like a lot of current deep house, bus Isolee's version hasn't forgotten the importance of a sense of mystery. Finely whittled percussion stays low in the mix; the midrange never overpowers, allowing you to unclench your ears and hone in on the warm, liquid phrases coursing through the background.
B The Fantastic Researches Of Yushin Maru