Isnaj Dui – “Euplexia”

“Having spent the first half of 2013 working on two site-specific installations; UnThread in Southend, and After the Flood as part of Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Isnaj Dui (aka Katie English) presents the follow up to 2012’s ambitious year-long Duodecim project. Euplexia, Isnaj Dui’s most recent studio album, sees a return to the raw, edgy sound prevalent in earlier works, yet combines this with the maturity of composition which English has refined over the years.

With Euplexia, Isnaj Dui has drawn on aspects of her installation work and the journal-like nature of Duodecim to combine field recording and sampling alongside her trademark concert and bass flutes and dulcimer. Using coil pickups, dictaphones and other electronics to build unstable textures and throbbing basslines, English has created a soundscape that is at once serene and grating. Whilst the trademark schizophrenic nature of tracks is in check, this album also sees a move towards more dissonant harmonic structures and high frequency playing on the flutes.” – Katie English / Inaj Dui

I was pleasantly surprised by this album. “Euplexia” is a mature, gentle yet deeply unsettling album. Euplexia is an album I have found myself returning to time and time again since purchasing it the other week.

I had the good fortune to support Isnaj Dui in one of her other musical ventures whilst at a sound festival down in Folkestone – I thought she was good then, but Katie English (Isnaj Dui) excels herself in this album.

Isnaj Dui (Katie English) describes herself as such –

Standing awkwardly between neo-impressionism and electronica, Isnaj Dui (aka Katie English) conveys a minimal yet capturing sound using flutes, home-made dulcimers and electronics. As a classically trained flautist, English has also studied electroacoustic music, alternative tunings and Balinese gamelan and has collaborated with numerous artists from electronica acts to folk bands.

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There is a duality between gentle, soft track and hard, gritty track throughout the album – something that I have warmed to. The ‘grating’ of part of any example track will be forgiven due to the uplifting nature of Katie’s flute playing. There seems a real yin / yang about this album – it is both perplexing, reassuring and strangely haunting.

I liken this album to the English Countryside – at once haunted yet serene. Whether Katie draws on the influence of her now native West Yorkshire countryside is a mystery, but it is something I got from it.

Euplexia is reminiscent of what Ghost Box records were trying to do with their take on Hauntology. This album is a deeply haunting album – but I can’t for the life of me put it down. I sounds like it would be a fitting soundtrack to The Wickerman if it ever got made in to a day-time soap.

It is raw and edgy. It is primal. It is fantastic. The maturity of the compositions belie the tender years that Katie has reached. An incredible album.

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