Isnaj Dui: Poiesis
Rural Colours

When not issuing Isnaj Dui material on Rural Colours, Katie English also manages FBox Records, a boutique label that, by its own description, “makes a move against the inorganic qualities of purely laptop based music, preferring to embrace a more natural side of electronica.” Much the same might be said about Poiesis, the latest hand-crafted full-length by this special artist, a classically trained flautist whose productions always carry with them a strongly appealing personal quality—and not only because the release's CD arrives in a hand-printed sleeve displaying English's own artwork.

No, much as we've said about her earlier releases, the material on the new recording is distinguished by its augmentation of electroacoustic elements with concert and bass flute playing; working with a looping device and various effects, she adds even more to Poiesis's individualized soundworld by featuring instruments such as the electrodulcimer, a stringed instrument devised by English herself, and by weaving alternative tunings and traces of Javanese Gamelan into the nine settings.

At one moment, grainy, static-laden backdrops collide with brooding bass flute textures; at another, elemental percussion patterns one imagines might have been played thousands of years ago mingle with double-tracked flute melodies and creaking electronic noises. Skeletal rhythm patterns reinforce the music's primal character, while electronics accentuate its modern-day aspect. No pieces exemplify the music's entrancing effect better than “Diatoms” and “Agnosia” in the way their various flute patterns dreamily drift over minimal percussive bases, though, truthfully speaking, much the same could be said about the recording as a whole.

A variety of sounds colours each piece, but it's the flute playing that brands this release as an Isnaj Dui project above all else. Poiesis presents a form of music that's both strangely alien and inviting, one that simultaneously straddles ancient and contemporary realms. Such an aesthetic is consistent with the album title, which, as any student of Ancient Greek philosophy knows, has to do with the creative act of bringing something into being that never existed before. The title is particularly apt in this case when the artist in question creates music that's so unlike anyone else's.

December 2017