Islet are releasing new music again! This time from their barn, having given up city life to retreat to rural Wales. Drawing very direct inspiration from the new landscape that surrounds them, they and filmmaker, Ewan Jones Morris have produced a remarkable video, combining drone footage with studio trickery, to create an imagined ‘landscape of Islet’. You can watch it here
NME – “Swirling, swooning and generally well lush.”
DIY – “With a silken pop hook at its core, it’s a soaring cut of their pulsating art-rock.”
Public Stream: https://islet.bandcamp.com
There’s no place like home and to prove it ‘art rockers’ Islet have linked up with prolific filmmaker and long-time collaborator Ewan Jones Morris to send a video postcard from rural Wales, starring the landscape in which the rurally-relocated band have produced their forthcoming EP, Liquid Half Moon (released Friday 9 December 2016 on Shape Records). For the video for the latest track to be revealed from the five-track EP, the delicately-sung duet, Final Drive, Jones Morris and the band looked to the wonders of nature and modern technology to fly a drone at 100 feet over reservoirs, woods and expanses of deep, green hill farmland before superimposing the band.
A distinctive and languid two-hander, where vocal duties are shared between Emma and Mark Daman Thomas (the band being further made up by Mark’s brother, John Thomas and Alex Williams) Final Drive finds the band in perhaps the most accessibly articulate form of their seven-year existence, having released the exhilarating, genre-threatening albums Illuminated People (2012) and Released By The Movement (2013) from their former base in Cardiff. A two-year performing hiatus coincided with their return to the farmlands of the Thomas brothers’ upbringing in Radnorshire, setting to work on their third album in a converted barn studio having left life in the city behind.
Citing similarly progressive, committedly collaborative artists as inspiration, including Deerhoof and Animal Collective, Islet’s sense of artistic freedom permeates every new track as it did the old, with listeners likely to sense kinship with similarly intrepid musical innovators from Battles to Can and The Slits.
Forming the creative core of Final Drive’s remarkable production is Ewan Jones Morris’ (also one half of the filmmaking duo Casey & Ewan) enduring relationship with the landscape, the band and his desire to extend the reach of both the art of the music video and the use of drones. Brought up in Radnorshire himself, he intentionally set the spotlight on a beautiful landscape he sees as ordinary, yet overdue it’s moment in the spotlight. Working with Islet since their video for We Shall Visit (2010) and recognising the positive decision of the band to relocate to their own, isolated corner of the world, he used the drone and painstaking post-production techniques to paint a visual picture of where he feels the band are now, artistically as well as physically.
Jones Morris says: “Having made plenty of music videos I looked at different way of shooting something and although drones are being overused at the moment I felt we could be a little more expressive and creative with it. We have been able to create a kind of ‘landscape of Islet’ as a result. The finished video is actually in five sections, like five animated panoramas, which are then stitched together in one moving shot. Then I chucked a load of clouds on to top to hide all the problems. I enjoyed re-engaging with the place, not because it’s beautiful, or idyllic or epic (it is all these things), but because it’s a place which I know, and I feel it needs representing.”
In preparing for the release of a new album in 2017, Islet return to live performance after their two year break by appearing at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff on Sat 10 December 2016 ahead of further shows around the UK in 2017. A band that assigns no prescribed roles to any one musician, Islet’s have been described as being ‘four arms of one musical beast’ through seamless adoption of various instruments and continually swapping stage positions.
Their relocation to a remote farming community not only continues the apparent retreat into rural life for many young artists, but also represents a triumph of modern communication as the band have found that it is only the view from their studio window that has changed, with artistic life being very much ‘business as usual’.
Emma Daman Thomas says: “There’s no mobile signal where we live now, but for Islet physical isolation isn’t much of a disadvantage. If anything, it has distilled our ideas. We’re pretty self-sufficient and our creative process isn’t confined to writing together, it’s all about recording and mixing ourselves in our own peculiar corner of the world. Here the air is cleaner and we have more space for us to make noise in. With an internet connection I think it’s as possible now to live rurally and be a musician, artist or designer as anywhere else.”
Shape Records: http://www.shaperecords.co.uk/