On „Post Tonal Bouquet“, Boston based Isabella collages a claustrophobic and diverse stream of deconstructed bangers for the Croatian label low income $quad.
Isabella is one of those artists that is hard to pin down in terms of genre, conceptual framework and elusive persona. The only thing clear is that her music comes like a breath of fresh air to the often formulaic perpetuation of trends. She debuted in 2016 with releases on Jackstone and Embalming Lately, followed by a split release with Bergsonist on Börft and a series of unconventional tracks that found their way to various compilations on labels such as Allergy Season, 1221, Discwoman or Peder Mannerfelt Produktion, where she also released her acclaimed EP „Whistle“ last year. Through all this time, Isabella has been crafting a bizarre and unpolished signature sound rooted in acid, noise, techno and a variety of other influences, successfully redefining and ditching common tropes in favor of intuitive exploration. Her latest EP „Post Tonal Bouquet“ has found a suitable home on eccentric Croatian label low income $quad, known for an impressive roster of quirky and adventurous artists.
While „Whistle“ was equally brutal and delicate release that meandered from clear and melodic ambient tracks to hard-hitting techno, „Post Tonal Bouquet“ sounds more impulsive, frivolous and to the point, simultaneously maintaining an undefined aura of darkness that infuses most of Isabella's productions. It's a fun and unpredictable take on 90s revival that merges shranz, techno, jungle and much else into an inconsistent and claustrophobic stream of deconstructed bangers. The opener „d_ddys wish“ introduces an idiosyncratic collage of rave cliches, instantly capturing the seedy atmosphere that will dominate the rest of the release in diverse forms. „She’s Gone Soft“ somewhat decreases the bpms and highlights a wired thumping beat only to pick up the pace later on. „Post Tonal Bouquet“ slowly reveals incredible complexity of its layers – a myriad of weird details, alien textures or incomprehensible voice snippets reveal itself on each new listen, buried beneath massive kicks and quirky rhythms. This is especially evident on „j-hole“, a sinister dark techno track with a repetitive, almost darkwave-ish melody and omnipresent strangely deadpan propulsive beats placed deeper in the mix. Through a 7-minute duration, different elements come to the fore and back into the void in an unstable dynamic between pace and volume.On “Insured Potency“ and the closer „Funambulist“, vocal samples are altered beyond recognition to give additional dose of eeriness to the humorous and relentless club experiments and subdued tension. Familiarity of passing, often unattainable references mixes with an uncanny impression of something hiding in plain sight, obscuring the narrative even more.
With “Post Tonal Bouquet”, Isabella once again creates an enticing and disparate collection of tracks that stray from safe patterns and rely on a more playful approach to brutality and current 90s nostalgia, resulting in a cryptic and ambitious EP that deserves much attention.