MIGUEL ISAZA – Uji (2014)

a1855025983_10Uji is a release on the newly formed (as of 2014) Eilean Records label, based in France, which focuses on electronic, ambient, electro-acoustic, experimental, field recordings, post-classical, contemporary music, post-folk and more. While we at MYOT are quite interested to find out what “post-folk” is, we do know our electronic and experimental stuff, and this label is a welcome addition to the roster of small labels “curating” fine electronic music. Good music, nice presentation.

Miguel Isaza is from Medellin, Colombia, and he uses some fairly exotic instruments to generate the sounds on this release influenced by the Soto Zen Buddhism of Dōgen. MYOT will try out just about anything influenced by Zen Buddhism.

Review by Lee Rosevere

Using a very limited range of instruments, this album is extremely inventive and hauntingly beautiful.

The liner notes reveal it was “created with field recordings, sine waves and acoustic instruments (charango, pan flutes, harmonica, music box)” and the title refers to a concept by Zen masters concerning life’s moments in time, floating in “suspension and transition”, which is an excellent description of the music.

Isaza creates a mini-orchestra of sound, skillfully and carefully balancing the acoustic with electronic. The softly droning backgrounds are nicely complemented by delicate clicks and glitches that don’t call attention to themselves. Even the high-pitched sine waves could be mistaken for fireflies.

I was a little worried when I saw pan flute in the roster of sounds, but this is no Zamfir or the bearded guy who plays “Guantanamera” in the transit station every Wednesday (although I’m sure he’s a lovely fellow). It’s kept at a low register, so it blends in well, like all the sounds do.

It’s wonderfully sequenced as well — a lot of time, consideration and love was put into this. I would be hard-pressed to only recommend individual tracks … this is an *album*. It is one of those rewarding albums that can easily be a part of furniture, or to be lost in … but it does need the right environment. Recommended for quiet times.

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