The first time I heard Isan's 'One Man Abandon' was in a live DJ set of a good friend and I immediately had to know what it was. After seeing the record I went on a binging week listening to all of Isan's records. It's save to say that there's an equal amount of what I really like and what doesn't stick. And sometimes the difference is just a slight changing of playback speed. I prefer 'One Man Abandon' f.i. at +35%.
Favorite track: One Man Abandon.
What nobody knows is that Integrated Services Analogue Network (ISAN for short) is really a secret garden in southern England. In these mild climes, two men in their early thirties founded Britain's first synthesiser home where neglected and forgotten instruments find a new way in life under the love and care of their keepers. Every day Antony Ryan and Robin Saville visit their beneficiaries and feed them with wonderful melodies and soft rhythms which the two bring home from a day's daydreaming of far off, imaginary landscapes. It could be a lake on hot hazy day, the air teeming with insects and pollen, waiting to burst under the weight of an oncoming storm. It could be an army of robots, full of misguided pride, marching to their death in war. Or it may be two pigs dressed in human hats, rooting for food and very much in love.
Every day Robin and Antony nurtured their growing affinity with their machines. And so the garden grew and flourished and before long the first salamander was seen, clinging to a flower stalk, then came a cat and, more amazingly, a collection of clockwork parts too. So it is only normal that everyone is asking themselves when and what strange fruit Saville and Ryan's wonder-garden will bear next. After all it is two and a half years ago that "Lucky Cat" appeared on Morr Music. In the form of "Clockwork Menagerie" (morr music 028) the impatient were temporarily alleviated with a collection of songs everybody believed to be long lost. Meanwhile Robin and Antony were concentrating on bringing their machines out to play live performances for the benefit of all at shows like Sonar, Big Chill and Benicassim amongst others. Now it's once again time that ISAN open the gates to their secret garden with the release of their full length album, "Meet Next Life".
At first glance everything seems the same, rows and rows of soldered synthesisers hum and hiss happily at the sight of their trustees. Robin and Antony walk around in the dissaray of patchbays and opened-up circuit boards, they lovingly stroke three note chords on the old chipped keyboards or offer kind words to an ageing drum computer so that it comes back to its old warm self. A closer look amongst the flowers and butterflies, however, and several new additions are to be found - a guitar, a glockenspiel and other percussion instruments have also been brought in to the home for love and affection. These new residents help ISAN to better organise the blurry outlines of the dreamy landscapes of their imaginations, the pictures now become sounds. Sounds still recognisable in their typical softness and harmony, yet more dynamic and physical: a trait of their new, more frequent excursions through real landscapes to live shows. Their return sees them homesick and longing, they return to their machines and begin, once again, to dream of landscapes...