Colin Fisher by Ilyse Krivel
Photo: Ilyse Krivel / Courtesy of the artist

Colin Fisher Creates Vast Ambient Soundscapes on ‘Reflections of the Invisible World’

Canadian composer Colin Fisher brings his jazz chops to an odd, calming collection of new-age psychedelia, Reflections of the Invisible World.

Reflections of the Invisible World
Colin Fisher
Halocline Trance
26 March 2021

Colin Fisher is one of those restless musicians whose sense of adventure is a thrilling thing to witness. Whether it’s his work with fellow Canadian Caribou, his collaboration with Brandon Valdivia in the psych-improv duo Not the Wind, Not the Flag, or his contributions to recordings by artists like the Constantines, Born Ruffians, or Anthony Braxton and AIMToronto Orchestra, his music is as unpredictable as it is richly textured and eclectic. His latest album continues to offer more sonic surprises. 

Reflections of the Invisible World is another deep dive into soundscapes that contain plenty of elements of Fisher’s love of jazz; with guitar and saxophone being the primary musical sources, he bathes these instruments in dreamlike effects and production. While his 2018 album V Le Pape was a bit more of an atonal, noise-centered effort, his new album is more calming in its textures and execution. Sustained, synthetic chords unspool luxuriously across the opening track, “Zero Experience”. Slightly more traditional – yet still psychedelically treated – electric guitar provides a warm bed in “Salient Charm” while Fisher’s hazy saxophone dances along dreamily. 

There’s a sense of foreboding on tracks like “Double Image”, as Fisher’s guitar provides a darker, more distorted, almost “metal” atmosphere that brings to mind sci-fi landscapes. When paired up with decidedly jazzy saxophone work, the song’s title becomes fitting, as the song sounds like the confluence of two musicians with separate disciplines who somehow found an odd yet interesting common ground. This matching continues with the epic track “Unchanging Awareness”, albeit with a slightly lighter, less threatening touch, even as Fisher’s guitar unleashes a cosmic feedback coda. 

Closing the album, “Sanctum” provides an interesting conclusion, as Fisher moves from electric guitar to a rarely-heard (on this album) acoustic, while his saxophone work exudes a beautiful, traditional lyricism. As the song enters its final phase, the electronic treatments eventually wash away, and the album ends very differently than how it began. This is a testament to Fisher’s vast skills and eclectic style. Reflections of the Invisible World is an exciting journey with many unique paths, led by a distinctly gifted musician.   

RATING 7 / 10