ISAN - Glass Bird Movement


Berlin's Morr Music was responsible for some of the best electronica/IDM releases during the pioneering period of the early 00's, alongside labels such as City Center Offices. With the likes of Manual, Christian Kleine, and a rather brilliant Slowdive remix compilation, Blue Skied An' Clearit's often easy to look back and think the label's best times have passed, but as proven here, one of it's most notorious inclusions, ISAN are back with some of their best work yet. 

The title of their latest release is a perfect reflection of the sound you can expect from Antony Ryan and Robin Saville (ISAN) - six years after their last. Working from different locations (UK and Denmark), the pair create glorious, shimmering patterns of warm electronica that are familiar, yet unmistakably ISAN. Many would claim to have been inspired by Antony and Robin, and it would be easy to draw comparisons that exist somewhere in-between the analog depths of Freescha, the innovative abilities of Aphex Twin, the melodic constructs of BoC, and the technical drum-patterns of Loess, but I do so only to draw attention to the brilliance of ISAN's music.

Tracks like 'Lace Murex' hit with an air of confidence, the crispness of a fine production, that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end, as the slow-burning melody creeps in amongst the pulsating, crunchy synthesizers, all set on a crisp day at the seaside, full of color and joy. 

Switch to the analog 'Rattling Downhill' to hear ISAN's fun retro side, manipulating simple synthesizer constructs into an addictive, progressive dance, as a spectrum of color swirls around your already hypnotized head.

As if demonstrating a breadth of approaches to a sound which is often easy to pigeonhole, tracks like 'Slow Rings' present a completely unique approach to this quirky electronica sound, leading into more ambient and inviting sounds in the softer album closer, 'Risefallasleep'.

As well as being another ISAN classic, this album is one of two things. It's either two master-minds of electronica finally polishing off tracks that have been finessed over 15-years or so, which still feel as fresh today as they ever would. Or Antony and Robin just decided, 'hey, it's about time we showed the world how great this type of music can be again' - like those people you meet who are just so damn good at something, no-matter how little practice they've had - they've just got it, popping up six years later to remind us how music can make you feel. Beautiful colors, happiness, and music that was made with fun and laughter. This is music that ISAN do best, and they do it better than anyone else.

Available on Morr Music and Bandcamp.


Silent Records' "From Here To Tranquility"


You would struggle to name an ambient record label that has stood the test of time since, let's say, the early 1990's. Many labels that come to mind are either now defunct, or stayed the course by diversifying their catalog into more electronic sounds, pioneering the IDM wave in the early 00's, or diving into other genres in the latter 2000's. It's of no surprise given the volatility of the industry over the years and the time and effort that goes into running a label. Perhaps, it's an over-generalization to make such a statement, given the importance of many smaller labels that make up a thriving genre of music, but a purely ambient label over 20-years old is undoubtedly a rarity.

Looking back at those that fell by the way-side, I don't think anyone would disagree when I say Silent Records was one of the pioneering ambient music labels that we wished had continued its course since its dominance in the early 1990's.

The San Francisco based label founded by Kim Cascone in 1986, helped establish the ambient sound we came to love in the 1990's. It's a hard style to describe and is instead often described by its connotations with the 'chill-out' room, eventually leading to the very name 'chill-out'. But as Kim admits, "I'd be hard pressed to describe the aesthetic to anyone... just that you'll know it when you hear it". In fact, Silent Records sat in the very centre of the chill-out culture we now come to associate with the likes of The KLF, Biosphere, or The Orb. Kim Cascone was at the helm of a label that little did he know, would have an impact for years to come:

"It was a very different world then. Silent started life as an experimental industrial label in 1986 but as the company grew we found ourselves in the middle of 90's San Francisco chill room culture. Some of the industrial artists were branching out and making ambient, drone or dark ambient/illbient music, so we went with the flow, but insisted on keeping it diverse. That being said, the chill room culture was very strong in the early 90's and it was easy to get pulled along with it. Needless to say, it was a very interesting time to run an ambient label in San Francisco".

Silent Records went on to release an enticing catalog that I won't even begin to pretend to know extensively (instead, check out this feature). Like the magic of Pete Namlook and his FAX label, Kim grew a notable collective of artists, introducing people to a style of music that was still finding its place at the time. But, with Kim undertaking new ventures in 1996, Silent came to a close soon after. 

The one good thing us ambient fans have come to realize, is that this style of music is timeless. It isn't restrained by styles or trend, and with the 'chill-out' rooms now effectively an online analogy, ambient music doesn't need a reason to exist - just the fact its beloved music is enough, and today's tools make it easier to reach audiences of old and new.

After a hiatus of nearly 20-years and with little fanfare, Kim unknowingly began to put Silent back on the map. 

"Last year I suffered from a sudden bout of knee inflammation which prevented me from touring, so being someone who hates not being busy I pitched the idea of a streaming radio station comprised of Silent's back catalog to Rusty at SomaFM. When we met at SomaFM to discuss details he asked me if I had ever considered rebooting Silent Records. The idea had never really occurred to me".

Kim goes on to describe that it was never an intention to reboot the label, but with his injury; "It felt like the universe was giving me distinct marching orders". That, combined with a push by James Healy (Air Texture), resulted in the resurrection of Silent this year and with it, two very special releases.

Like all good decisions, it was grounded in his love for the music and the label he cultivated all those years back: "What really inspired me to reboot Silent was reconstructing the Silent roster and releasing new work by them". The result, is two new compilations, titled "From Here To Tranquility Volume 6 - The Renaissance" and "From Here To Tranquility Volume 7 - The Renaissance continues".

Kim affectionately describes the new label collective as "The Silent All Stars (minus the few that have passed away or were unable to contribute)". The compilations also presented Kim with an opportunity to continue the strong ethos of the label - "an incubator of sorts where the artists can develop new work and grow artistically" with the new compilations also accommodating newer faces we respect here at ASIP such as Ethernet.

Not stopping here, next year will see releases by, 23 Degrees, Deeper Than Space, Meterpool as well as some new additions to the family. 

The resurrection of the label is undoubtedly some of the best news to hit the music world recently given the respect and admiration the label garnered over the years. And to celebrate, the man who perhaps gave Kim the final push to start it all again has compiled an exclusive mix for us here on ASIP. Featuring tracks ranging as far back as 1993, alongside tracks from the recent releases, we're treated to a timeless excursion through the Silent catalog by James Healy, titled '30 Years of Silent Records and the From Here to Tranquility Series – The Mix'.

Visit Silent Records on Bandcamp for the latest compilations, and the ever appearing, legendary back-catalog. 


01. Hyperdelicious – Tales of Suspense (FHTT Volume I) 1993
02. Ambient Temple of Imagination - Thee All Importance of Imagination (FHTT Volume V) 1996
03. Entrancing Iris – Sub-Ocean (FHTT Volume III) 1994
04. Tylervision – The Last Human (FHTT Volume II) 1993
05. Lightwave – Infinite vs Unfinished (FHTT Volume IV) 1995
06. Dialux Rouge – Zircon (FHTT Volume III) 1994
07. Psychic Surfers of Zuvuya – Infiltrate (FHTT Volume III) 1994
08. Omegatribe – Panacea (FHTT Volume III) 1994
09. Heavenly Music Corporation – Octal (FHTT Volume V) 1996
10. Dirk Serries – The Mirrored Dominion (FHTT Volume VII) 2016
11. Spice Barons – Spice of God (FHTT Volume I) 1993
12. Atmosphere Factory – Spring Rain (FHTT Volume VI) 2016
13. Robin Parmar – Shadow (FHTT Volume VII) 2016
14. 23 Degrees – The End of New Beginnings (FHTT Volume IV) 1995

All tracks taken selected from the From Here to Tranquility Series.


bvdub - Yours are Stories of Sadness


What hasn't already been said about bvdub and is left to say?

He's a man of many words and expression, often through his relentless music output. Some, have wished for more departures from his sound over the years - a signature sound at that. In Yours are Stories of Sadness, Brock gives a glimpse of change, just enough for him to prove he is never done evolving and in fact, reflecting is just as powerful. 

Brock's releases often vary in intensity and emotion. From the harshness of static, to the rollercoaster of varying song structures, and the pull of the soaring melodies; there's perhaps one thing that Brock hasn't played with before to keep us guessing, and that's track length.

Not to make this entirely about how long a track is, but not only have I wondered what Brock would construct in such strict circumstances, but he's notorious for the progression in his ambient music - so much so they should start naming an approach to ambient music after him...

With each track on this release 1/4 of the normal bvdub length of around 12+ minutes, and each depicting a time in which he remembered a moment from 4-years ago, this is the purest distillation of Brock we've seen to date. 

Each track starts as if it was embarking on a typical bvdub journey, but quickly forms its shape and purpose - be it a unique sample in track 3, Pop Ambient sounding synthesizers in track 5, Helios style organic warmth in track 9, more familiar heart-wrenching chords in track 14 or soaring static and synthesizers in closer, track 19.

bvdub notoriously isn't the easiest introduction into his own music (let me explain that a little). His tracks are often intense and emotional, yet placed for positions of quiet and personal listening. Finding the right moment to listen to bvdub is one of the reasons I don't listen to his albums more - they become destined for very special occasions, intense emotional places, and I think that's why he manages to connect with so many people on a much deeper level than most. You don't listen to one track of his, you listen to an entire album, and you're his companion in time of need, stress, celebration or reflection. Be it a close death, a friendship, or in this instance, fragmented memories, Brock is brilliant at painting these vivid emotions. 

With Yours are Stories of Sadness, Brock not only made his music more accessible, but he's managed to distill the many parts that make up his sound over the years into tiny fragments. You can hear everything in here, with nods to the past and a glimpse into the potential future. He's not one to show off, but if you needed a resume from Brock, this is it - perfectly executed and a summation of his many unique styles. If this is the sound of bvdub recalling memories from the past 4 years, this is also the distilled sound of bvdub from the past 4 years, but with one clear difference.

Unlike his previous works, where the painting was finished, these memories are purposefully grainy and incomplete. Like a 12-minute bvdub track, the remaining 8 minutes or so, are left for you to wonder.  And what better music to wonder with. 

"Unlike all my other works which are meant to be in the foreground, these are meant to stay in the shadows... to be the quiet and subconscious soundtrack... each not a story, but just a moment... that moment you realize. Unlike the norm, when I elucidate every second to near unbearable levels ;), this time how that moment materializes or continues is up to you..." 

Available on Bandcamp. 


Joachim Spieth - Evaporate


Joachim Spieth graced us with an isolatedmix last year, diving into ambient and deep techno - a form that many of us have known him by since the very early Kompakt Pop Ambient releases.

Since then, Joachim has invested time in his own label, Affin Records, slowly curating a solid line-up of techno artists, including some of Markus Guentner's earliest releases, as well as becoming an outlet for his techno-oriented releases. It's of no surprise then, to see a Joachim release on Affin, but this one's a little special.

A new two track EP, Evaporate covers the split sides of Joachim we love the most. Immersive, organic textures, with one side peppered in driving, ear-rattling deep techno, a-la Donato Dozzy, Luigi Tozzi etc and the other finding itself lost amongst the complex birdsong of a mysterious, dense forest; the kind you'll find ASC orchestrating, or even Dozzy's deeper project, Voices From The Lake.  

Joachim's roots in ambient music are clearly evident throughout and it's his respect for these deep textures that creates this solid slice of hypnotic techno music, and a must own 12".

Available on Bandcamp.


isolatedmix 64 - Eluvium


Every now and then an album comes along that helps you witness the never-ending journey and evolution of music. Limitless, creative and inspiring, Matthew Cooper, aka Eluvium has consistently pushed the boundaries of his sound since his debut back in 2003, and his latest album, False Readings On, is perhaps his finest jump into the unexpected deep waters of ambient music.

It's an album that draws on contradictions, stark contrasts and a range of ingenious sound approaches, varying from experimental drones, to poised, angelic vocals. It's a subtle jolt in every direction; just when you thought you had him down; Matthew comes surging over the top with a dense smack in the face, full of deep textures and spine-tingling operatic highs.

With such an avid following after years of solid work, both as himself, and as part of Inventions (alongside Mark T Smith of Explosions In The Sky) it has been a dream of mine to see an Eluvium isolatedmix. Just like each of his albums, I would be wondering on his particular angle, inspirations and approach to any extended journey he might dive into. Without him saying so, Matthew's isolatedmix draws a strong comparison to False Readings On; juxtaposing, surprising and uninhabited, full of moments of beauty and of course, new and unique edits on old styles.

I also got the chance to ask Matthew a few questions, so press play on the mix and jump below to find out what Pixar, Portland and the Opera are doing within the world of Eluvium.

False Readings On is now available on Temporary Residence.

"So, I guess I was interested in building a sort of haunting but comforting place.  I wanted to feel like, as a listener, I was being pulled from dream to dream, or scene to scene, almost like the Kurosawa film “Dreams” . A mixture of melodies and feelings from the past all floating by. I also really enjoy the juxtaposition of old vocal stuff and more drone-noise stuff. I think they go well together, and I was really in the mood for some drone noise sounds from a few of my old favorites. I did some mild “toying” with some of the tracks, pretty subtle… but I wanted to carry it that much more into a strange and obfuscated realm, and it helped blend a few things together too.  Quite a few of the pieces are considerably shortened in order to help with the flurry of various images and feelings blending together. 

Thanks for listening and caring. It was enjoyable to put together. I like making things like this.” - Matthew Cooper/Eluvium.



1. Rain & Static
2. Valley Of The Giants - Whaling Tale (Momentary Excerpt) [s/t]
3. Scott Tuma - Untitled 4 [The River 1,2,3,4]
4. Moondog - Cuplet [s/t]
5. Eluvium - False Readings On [False Readings On]
6. Chris Smith - Replacement (Excerpt) [Map Ends 1995-2001]
7. Billie Holiday - Please Tell Me Now (Softly Confuzzled Mix) [Collection]
8. James Ferraro - Memory Theater (Excerpt) [Marble Surf] + Chant De Meule / Milling Song  - Unknown Vocalists [Music Of The Ouldeme] 
9. The Ink Spots - To Each His Own [Greatest Hits] Csengeri - Thunderstorm Field Recordings,  John Cage / Stephen Drury - Dream (Excerpt) [In A Landscape]
10. Dinah Shore - When I Grow To Old To Dream (Gently Warbled Mix) [In Person With Dinah Shore]
11. Eluvium - Regenerative Being [False Readings On]
12. The Ronettes - Be My Baby (Slightly Melting Mix) [Best Of The Ronettes]
13. Thomas Newman - OJ Savice [In The Bedroom OST] + Croatian Folk Song +
Eluvium - Drowning Tone [False Readings On]
14. Gavin Bryars - The Sinking Of The Titanic [Obscure Records Edition]

~ Interview ~

Hi Matthew. Many thanks for taking the time to speak alongside your stunning isolatedmix. Your new album is probably my favorite release of yours so far and it sounds like it is for many other people. How are you feeling about it all so far? Happy with the response? Was it easy to get this one finished out of the studio?

Thank you for saying that, and YES. It really seems like people are responding quite strongly to the album. I’m never sure what to expect but I’m genuinely surprised by the positive thoughts people are sending my way. It makes me happy to know that so many people can connect with it. 

As far as getting it out and finished etc… it was a pretty difficult ride for me. I went through some bits of anxiety and distress during the process of making this one. Things are getting better now though and it feels good.

I remember reading that you holed yourself up to create an Inventions album. Where was this one conceived? How long did it take? 

Yes, for the Inventions records (so far at least) we have always gone to a house on the Oregon coast and created and recorded and mixed while looking out at the ocean.

This album was made in my home studio in its entirety. I believe the process from start to finish was probably close to a year or year and a half. I do take breaks to sleep and eat and walk the dogs though. Honestly it would be nowhere near that long that if I was actually always working in the studio. Lots of time is spent waiting too. I’ve never been the type of person that can just go into a studio over a few days and complete a record that I would be happy with… or maybe I could, but I doubt it. I really like to take a long amount of time to focus and finesse things and write pieces as they come and let the songs grow and have it all take place in the studio. So doing so in my own place makes the most sense.

I see the album as a very unique sound when it comes to the majority of ambient/experimental music out there right now. Was there an overarching idea behind the album and its approach? Did you set out to make something very different?

I did set out to make something different. I feel like it is a little more aggressive than anything I’ve done in the past. It also has darker themes throughout, which is new to me as I’ve usually tried to stay in the positive spectrum with my music.  The overarching ideas are themes of perspective, perception, belief, misinformation, cognitive dissonance, and confirmation bias within our individual selfs and as a society. And what these things do to the nature of the human being.

I can sense the stark contrasts, from washes of heavy drones, to piano and atmospheric orchestral elements. Can you tell us a little bit about the thinking behind this approach?

I generally don’t think to much about these things on an album basis. As the album just naturally creates itself for me. I do think along these lines on a song by song basis, though.  I tend to try to have an understanding of what I’m trying to convey once I have some bare bones laid down, and choose instrumentation based off of what I feel would best communicate that feeling. Sometimes it is also just throwing a ton of things into a mix and finding out what works and what doesn’t. If I have a melody line in mind, I sometimes know exactly what I want it to be played on. But sometimes I just have to play it on lots and lots of instruments and figure out which one actually feels best and most natural.. or most confusing, if that is the feeling I want to convey.

You’re obviously a talented multi-instrumentalist; what types of instruments, software and hardware were used in the making of the album? Do you have a favorite?

I was using a great many keyboards both modern synthesizers and broken old Casio's and Yamaha's. It also involved modular synthesis, quite a few VST synthesizers, some blank tapes and statics and wow and flutter from them, field recordings, samples, and some Youtube.  The modular synth is my current favorite. I’ve been enjoying using it for many different purposes for the past year or so. Beyond its application to any recordings, I just find it very peaceful to sit with and develop sounds on, and then just sit and listen for a while, and maybe make small changes, and then destroy it. It is like burning a painting after completion, or like a Tibetan Sand Mandala. 

Do you ever have a dream that upon waking stays with you all day and makes you feel a little off about things?
— Eluvium

There are lots of voices and operatic vocals featured in the album and they add a beautiful, unexpected element to the recording. What was the thinking behind these inclusions? Are you a fan of Opera?

I had two purposes for the lyrics. One was to ensure that there was a purity and richness that could reach out above the chaos and noise, but I also had specific words and sentences that I wanted to include throughout the album. They were created by taking samples of very very old recordings. I had some words that I translated into Latin and Italian, and then took the samples apart note by note and put them together to phonetically sound out the “libretto” of the album. I wasn’t always able to perfectly hit it, without sacrificing some musicality, so I’d let the music lead me. But i didn’t want the sounds to be meaningless. I knew no one would ever understand them, but it was important that they carried weight.  I do like opera. I’m not a huge fan or anything. I like the Arias. Doesn’t everyone like the Arias?

You mention dreams in your mix inspiration, was this also the case for the album? 

Dreams were not the direct inspiration, as I mentioned before about the concepts for the album. But I do think that they very much play a role in creating confusion within us and how we think we might feel about things. Do you ever have a dream that upon waking stays with you all day and makes you feel a little off about things?

Your music has recently been described as pop ambient, maximalism and ultimately, experimental. How do you continue to push the boundaries with your sound and approach? Do you set-out to make a distinct sound or is it purely experimental in approach?

I’m not sure. I guess it is very much experimental in my approach, and my consideration of what themes I will be looking at. But I think there is also an inherent “me” that will always show up and that is the connecting fabric of everything I do.  Also - quite simply, I get bored easily with whatever it is I’ve just done and simply want to try something different that I haven’t done before. Sometimes these changes are subtle and sometimes they are more dramatic. It isn’t quite so “planned” as some people/reviewers tend to think. I just go with the flow. Resistance is futile. I’d just consider myself lucky enough that people still care and enjoy what I do.  I know I haven’t made it an easy ride to follow, but it isn’t purposeful, it is just wanderlust, I think.  People try to draw a deeper picture than necessary when it comes to the route taken.

So, Portland. I lived there for 3 years up until a year ago (I'm gutted I didn’t bump into you or see you at a show!) The ambient scene was great though, with some really amazing people making it happen. Do you enjoy what’s going on there? Is it somewhere you’ll call home for a while? 

Haha. You should’ve just gone to the book store. I was probably in the fiction section.
As far as enjoying what is going on here. Absolutely, there is always very interesting music coming out of this area and the community is really great and for the most part supportive. But things change and the city gets bigger and loses some of those things along the way. It is the nature of life.  Honestly, I don’t even get out very much here. I’ve never truly felt like a part of the music scene at all, but that has less to do with the scene and more to do with my social anxieties.  Nonetheless, yes, with all the changes occurring and rapidly destroying the old town I loved so dearly, it is still home to me, and it will probably still be home to me once the cool points fade away too. — I’d like to travel and take in some other cities more though. Live in Europe for a while, etc… but the Pacific Northwest will probably always be home, in one way or another.

Is that the sound from the film 'Contact' at the end of 'Fugue State’?!

It is the sound of the transmission they receive which include the plans to build the wormhole machine. 

Lastly, based on your track title ‘Movie Night Revisited’, what’s playing at your house when we all come over for a film night? 

hmmm….so many to choose from… I’d probably start with something from Pixar. Then move into the dark comedy “The ‘Burbs” starring the more early physical comedy of Tom Hanks, and finish off with “My Dinner With Andre”. Those are probably my 3 favorites ( with the Pixar one changing title from time to time). But I’m also really into anything late 1940s or late 30s - so maybe “You Can’t Take It With You”, or “The Thin Man” series, or “Larceny Inc.” We’d be up all night. Why not Kurosawa’s “Dreams” while we’re at it.