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Iszoloscope – The Edge of Certainty

Iszoloscope - The Edge Of Certainty

CD, Ant-Zen, 2010

Music like this is a terrible thing, a weapon of mass destruction cunningly disguised as a 120-mm-diameter disc of aluminium and vinyl. It’s also, put bluntly, aural viagra. If ears were genitalia, even minimal exposure to Iszoloscope’s latest album, “The Edge of Certainty”, would result in unbounded moistness or turgidity. An uncomfortable image for some, perhaps, but this is by no means a quiet-family-evening-by-the-fireside-drinking-cocoa-type of record. Leaping wildly from hypnotic atmospheres that resonate uncomfortably inside the psyche to pulverising onslaughts of merciless percussion, punctuated with some unexpectedly soft melodic constructs, all narrated by the archetype of evil genius vocal sampling – the kind that’s telling you to relax, this won’t hurt a bit, while all your instincts are screaming at you to run like hell…
Three tracks (including the first, a collaboration with Norad) are termed “transcendental components”. Personally, I doubt if the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi would be in concord with the transcendental nature of this ominous music, but I also doubt if he had much experience with the anger and dissatisfaction with society, or even civilization, that typifies the impetus behind almost all industrial acts to date. These three, as a stand-alone EP, would already be worth salivating over; add to them the balls-to-the-wall power and carefully controlled bursts of noise that Iszoloscope is renowned for, and you have an album that should be on every rivethead worth his/her’s salt ‘must-have’ list. This is not to say that there isn’t something transcendental about the music. It may not transcend individual consciousness and enter a unified field state of universal awareness, but it definitely goes far beyond the day-to-day drudgery of the slavery that is, for the most part, human existence today.
One aspect of “The Edge of Certainty” that really does stand out, though, is a detached, almost clinical, precision: the mechanical aspect of the sound comes to the fore in the form of heavy dependence on sampled noise and machine-like drumming. Paradoxically, this serves to heighten the human element, as well – melodies and bass lines are highlighted in a weird biological/organic chiaroscuro. Ethereal choral elements on “In the Face of Descent” and nursery music box chimes on “Inseparable from the Void” are great examples of this, a no-man’s-land forming the shifting boundary between the creative impulse of music composition and the structured, mechanical process of sequencing hard-hitting industrial rhythms.
In summation: “The Edge of Certainty” is not as wildly noisy as Ah Cama-Sotz, nor as blatantly aggressive as Converter; not as unconstrained as Winterk√§lte, nor as atmosphere-driven as Mono No Aware. But it shares common ground with all of these, just refined and distilled into an album that is as much music as it is therapy. Truly, a really impressive album that supercedes the standard view of industrial music by the simple expedient of adding intelligent content over mere offensiveness.


— David Van Der Merwe

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