Reviewed: Isnaj Dui – Poiesis [Rural Colors]

Words on contemporary releases. Seeking to offer an honest description of works which manage to exist in their own space and time.


Isnaj Dui – Poiesis – Rural Colors

Autumn starts to approach our regions and Nature puts up her guard again after a summer of abundance. The passing of time becomes painfully visible, along with a tangible melancholy. Yet another year. It is time for introspection. In this mood of the last sun-rays, the new EP of Katie English, better known under her moniker Isnaj Dui, offers us an ice cold space, rather absently aggressive, to overthink ourselves and set the record straight.


The British artist is rather prolific in her meticulous craft of sounds, which can be described as an in between of neo-impressionism and electronica. Making music which can often be understood to be a complex layering of harmonies, for example her previous EP Sunspot Loops on Courier Sounds, these textures meet each other on a brief point of recognition. For her contribution on the VA LESSONS on Front and Follow she uses her distinct wizardry of the flute and cello. Her themes revolve around these fragments of looping, cycles, patterns and breaking the recognition by disharmony. The EP is being released on the small label Rural Colors, based in Halifax, UK. Diving into the other works on the label, we can see that they have a taste for (not so) local gems: Immersive pieces, made from texturizing field recordings, deconstructing and reconstructing these into otherworldly sounds (tip: Peace EP by Guenther Schlienz).

Poiesis is the Greek term for ‘bringing something into being which did not exist before’ and is highly applicable to the craft of Isnaj Dui. Bringing forces, layers together and making them logically work, it reminds the listener of musical alchemy or the dualistic rift between particles and waves. It also rather beautifully reminds us of our godlike possibility to create. Taking a turn to the expressionistic and following a period of two years, this new work is an essential in her oeuvre.

Poiesis opens with Black and White Sunrise filling the mood with anticipation, serving as an unnervingly calm opening for the rest to come. Diffraction Gratings introduces a haunting beat, intertwined with a schizophrenic screaming flute, turning our heads to an unsolved conflict in the vast landscapes. Blind Spots and Concrete Space are troubled looping sequences, exposing the unfruitful tide humanity is stuck in. The oriental taste to the beats give it nevertheless a light and humorous perspective, a twisted joke. The ambient part on the latter reminds strongly of the atmospheres created by artists like Afx and Squarepusher. Crouching deeper into the dark cave after the explosions, Agnosia pins the listener down, emotional, strangely small now. The fluttering flutes are warm and sophisticated, the bells surrealistic. After the intense sharpness of Occam’s Razor the multi-dimensional Poiesis comes to an end with Acrobats, a strong affirmation of our possibilities to create, intensified by the harmonies of the instruments growing larger as the track develops itself. It is a light at the end of the tunnel without losing the bellowing heard throughout the work.