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Isan

Plans Drawn in Pencil

(Morr Music; US: 27 Jun 2006; UK: 3 Jul 2006)

Rest your weary heads, ye olde lovers of glitch-pop. Isan have returned to lull you off into silvery slumbers. Although the heyday of Germany’s Morr Music is a few years gone by, they haven’t let today’s more guitar-centric landscape do them in. Yes, the music made by the artists on their roster is often more organic these days, but Isan (a duo comprised of Antony Ryan and Robin Saville) stick to their synthetic roots on their latest, Plans Drawn in Pencil. In a yellow box in the pencil-and-Post-it diagram on the CD cover is the word “lullabinary”. Perhaps it would have been too on-the-nose to use this neologism as the album’s title, because this is certainly Isan’s bedtime disc. Their signature sound remains, but the beats are less plentiful and the melodies stretch drowsily into ambient weightlessness. A few tracks, like “Look and Yes” and “Amber Button,” verge on percolative pop, but the majority of Plans Drawn in Pencil is a 21st century update of Brian Eno’s “aural wallpaper”. While this might sound boring to some, Ryan and Saville find enough varied approaches to this idea to keep the album fresh. If you’re looking to soundtrack your day, Isan’s latest would make the perfect choice for your final listen before sleep. Good night, sweet prince(ss) of glitch.

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Michael Keefe is a freelance music journalist, an independent bookstore publicist, and a singer/guitarist/songwriter in a band. Raised on a record collection of The Beatles, Coltrane, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar, Michael has been a slave to music his whole life. At age 16, he got a drum set and a job at a record store, and he's been playing and peddling music ever since. Today, he lives in Oregon with his wife (also a writer, but not about music), two cats, and a whole lot of instruments and CDs.


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