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Lucky Cat

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Album Review

Long-distance collaborators Antony Ryan and Robin Saville present 11 perfectly fragile slices of electronic tone poetry with Lucky Cat. The cute kitty cat cover is entirely indicative of the gentle, sprightly melodies of the album. Analog synths and keyboards linger patiently in the air as slow-percolating beats rise from the ether and then dissipate. The duo's songs revel in atmosphere and their minimal music frequently recalls the icy sounds of ambient innovator Brian Eno. Like their Morr Music peers Múm, isan has the ability to consistently paint emotions, using a listener's psyche as a palette, through rather basic melodies and arrangements. It's hard to say why the swirling minimalism of "Cathart" is so touching and sad, but it's a testament to isan's songwriting skills and electronic mastery that the song affects listeners with such an emotional wallop. Though a far-off sense of unease occasionally develops, most of Lucky Cat is about sweetness and innocence. It's hard not to imagine cute newborn animals frolicking in virgin fields or to picture stunning sci-fi vistas as remarkably simple but emotionally stunning standout songs like "Table of Deciduous Species," "Recently in the Sahara," and "Scraph" trickle majestically from one's stereo. Thought it might be considered IDM, Lucky Cat seems less intelligent dance music than peaceful and relaxing nap music. And that's meant only as a high compliment for this remarkable collection of calming melodies and sonically painted atmospheres.


Formed: 1991 in Reading, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Robin Saville and Antony Ryan's releases as ISAN are characterized by simple rhythms, pop-inflected song structures, and strong, committedly analog melodies. Originally from Reading, England, the duo emerged from the electronica underground in the mid-'90s at a time when groups like Autechre and Aphex Twin were bringing increasing levels of abstraction and disjunction to electronic post-techno. Dodging that approach, ISAN joined artists such as Solvent, B. Fleischmann, Sweden's Pluxus, and Krautrock-electronica...
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Lucky Cat, ISAN
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