ISOSTATIC: Woodland Structure (2019)
“This is an ambient work without burrs with a zest of dark that requires some listening in order to get on the first journey of Isostatic”
1 Canopy 7:24
2 Woodland Wakes 6:44
3 Hollow Oak 6:40
4 Falling Leaf 6:59
5 Glade 6:19
6 Sycamore Seeds 7:39
7 Ash 6:21
8 Woodland Sleeps 7:02
(DDL 55:08) (V.F.)
(Dark ambient, Psybient)
I believe I am the only one to have a devilishly opposite vision to that of Isostatic in his first album on Exosphere, a division of Synphaera. Indeed, if WOODLAND STRUCTURE wants to be a cosmographic musical excursion through the mythical English forests, I have rather detected a futuristic mink there, quite intense at times, of which some atmospheres stick so closely to those of Blade Runner. The cover-art, very beautiful by the way, depicts an environment where the darkness lets interpret a dark mass invading the beauty of these woods. It's therefore between these atmospheres that the music of the English musician Sean Costello floats with scents of an uncertain Psybient and influences that range from Tangerine Dream to Steve Roach, without forgetting Vangelis and Solar Fields.
Canopy imposes itself with an ice wave that crumbles in a cloud of fine drizzle while its shadow continues its thrust to merge in a rain where the dark sky is contained in a reverberant acoustic tube. Its descent is furious, and his suite is transformed into a musical panorama covered with anesthetic mist. Riffs meditate in suspension, bringing this texture of atmospheres near the marshes that Tangerine Dream explored with the famous 3 AM at the Border of the Marsh from Okefenokee. The textures that form the panoramas are in the tone and respect the aesthetics of the American label which encourages its artists to explore EM in all its forms. WOODLAND STRUCTURE is not an album which is purveyor in rhythms. It's at the level of the atmospheres that the music lets its image, its photo to reach our ears. The synth lines and layers are rich in mist and in sibylline vibes. The movements are slow, imitating sedentary masses whose visions are finely attached to the tales and legends of the mythical English woods where the moors are places of unwanted meetings. Woodland Wakes slides us at the edge of these dark landscapes where the first tingles of arpeggios sparkle like fireflies in a night of apocalypse animated by the jolts of deaf explosions, recalling the atmospheres of Blade Runner, like those of Underworld. We are in this cinematographic phase with atmospheres a bit futuristic because they release this vision of abandoned lands in the hands of invaders (The War of the Worlds). We have to wait up to Hollow Oak to hear a first concrete rhythmic phase, the only one besides, in WOODLAND STRUCTURE. The movement of the sequencer is spasmodic. It weaves a circular pattern that plays with its velocity in an environment more industrial than countryside, and this even with the stars that sparkle with their prism tones in a very good universe of Psybient. The music of Isostatic had all the elements here to extend this delicious texture which will return to another setting a few minutes later. The misty chords of Falling Leaf encourage us to take a walk in the sky in order to admire with another look this dryad that Sean Costello always portrays with his dark vision. The Psybient takes a more Solar Fields form with these arpeggios clanging and shimmering in the sails falling from the synths which intertwine in a sedentary course. The finale glides very slowly towards Glade which borrows the rhythmic skeleton of Hollow Oak in a vision of rhythm more discreet and more ethereal at the level of the atmospheres. Sycamore Seeds is the most harmonious title with a vision that dips me slightly into the structure of Reflections in Suspension. The music moves away from its reverberation arches in order to let light up celestial horns and keyboard chords which dance with their shadows in a good twilight ballet. It's going in my iPod, music section for dodo! Ditto for Ash and these orchestral layers drifting like a look at the vastness of English lands. Woodland Sleeps finishes this first album of Isostatic with an ambient structure where small filaments of melodies are lost in this long idle drone that leaves me perplexed regarding the real origins of this album and the visions of its composer.
But whether it's a sci-fi universe or one more down to earth in the English woods, this is an ambient work without burrs that requires some listening in order to get on a first journey that suggests beautiful perspectives for Isostatic.
Sylvain Lupari (December 29th, 2019) ***½**
Avalaible at Exosphere Bandcamp