One of the more functional elements of posting a review on OBLADADA is tagging a story. Clearly, we are no Pitchfork, syphoning tens of thousands of digital ants through a vast matrix of articles, but in a way, these tags are there to help if called upon. Being able to quickly locate everything under any pondered # helps readers find other articles they might like.
It leads to some issues, as pinning genres on music can be pretty unspecific and misleading. On occasion, there comes along music that seems to actually delight in its refusal to neatly sit in any category or straddle most of them. Reflections of the Invisible World, by Colin Fisher is one such album.
An elusive type of music that slowly draws you into a space of its own making, balanced at the junction between numerous zones. Even the sleeve immediately throws together layers of elements, new age cues, wildly impractical typography and naturalistic photography into a strange visual cocktail of what’s to come. Whilst Fisher has been a significant player in experimental and improvisatory circles in his native Canada for over 20 years, his work was new to us, until now.
We start in a woozy dream, Zero Experience builds out of oily pools of sound, delighting in the tiny dubby embellishments pushing the music forward. Salient Charm starts like a sleepy groove before twisting into a beautiful celtic infused Jon Hassell motif. Something in the concoction shouldn’t work but the joyousness radiates for 6 time-stretching minutes.
Monadic Mirror is watery ripples against blurring choral smudges, Double Image unfolds like a flythrough of some bizarre lysergic city, smoky jazz alleys, open windows, guitar burn out two blocks away on the glowing horizon. Coalascense twinkles like rain drops from a warped VHS tape before zero gravity guitar rolls by.
Unchanging Awareness forms into a thick Bladerunner air before buzzing and distorting in neon signage interference and metallic arcs for almost 9 minutes. The closer, Sanctum, feels like some house band played until dawn and sleep deprivation has started to make sound actually wobble and behave in strange and unexpected ways. It’s jazz derived but encased in something indefinable as it slowly dissolves into the ether.
What’s ultimately so strange as the album plays out, is that everything here feels immaculately processed. Each track feels like a few elements are allowed to expand, constructed in their own sonic petri dishes, removed from anything but itself. There’s a new age sheen, blistering sound design, a spatial quality, a synthetic and emotional thread that never quite do what you might expect.
Reflections of the Invisible World is well named. It feels like grouping elements together and blended mysteriously by an expert, just enough that they evoke actual mirages of nothing but their own weird forms. The music here is somehow always more than just its surface, like a mathematical or chemical experiment where illusions give a sense of things not even present – truly intriguing stuff.
Reflections of the Invisible World is out on 26 March on vinyl and digital on Hacoline Trance. It’s available to pre-order today.