Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lucky Cat - ISAN (Morr Music)

Lucky Cat

Morr Music Records.

SCQ Rating: 74%

One of the best examples of Morr’s early dedication to and expansion of instrumental home-listening electronica, ISAN are the duo of Robin Saville and Antony Ryan, who offer a unique take on the genre by working exclusively with analog instruments. By using analog synthesizers and home-made percussion, ISAN craft delicate shades of micro electronica without going electronic at all. Using an idea made famous by the Postal Service, Saville and Ryan create their music continentally (they’ve never lived in the same European country) and trade ideas and drafts of songs through the internet.

The results are often superb. ‘Fueled’ is an eerie soundtrack to late winter evenings, tense yet somehow chilled-out. ‘Scraph’ momentarily breaks expectations with a lively break-beat, filled out by minor key melodies that resemble a less-ambitious Boards of Canada track. The majority, however, fit well to Lucky Cat’s cover-art: cuddly and cute. ‘Cutlery Favours’ is an opener that disguises nothing; an enjoyably honest and adorable track of subtle synth-shifts and old-world whirls that forecasts the rest of these tracks accurately.

Although Lucky Cat is certainly cohesive, its low-key intentions begin to wear thin and, at the very least, borders on being too isolating for regular rotation. This is a rare take on Morr Music’s early sound; replete with all the melody and loveliness of their trademark’s reputation, but crafted entirely without the instruments its genre relies on. A soft record for those hours you need company but only the kind that neither screams out nor expects a response.

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