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Ison - Cosmic Drone [EP] (2015) - Review

Band: Ison
Album title: Cosmic Drone [EP]
Release date: 8 June 2015
Label: Self-Released

01. Lost Satellites
02. Atlas
03. RedShift
04. Icosahedron
05. Travellers

The great philosopher Plato has once written: "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." The debut EP of the Swedish duo Ison is all that and if you've searched in music for something that will have the power to seduce your mind and take you on a journey through the vastness of universe then search no more. Cosmic Drone is dark beauty incarnated, it's a relaxating movement of sounds that embraces with every single moment, it sparks imagination and chills senses, it opens up a completely new definition of atmospheric music. It was expected in a way that nothing else but a pure sonic beauty can came out from the two likeminded artists, Heike Langhans, known from her solo project Lorelei and as the new vocalist of the Swedish gothic/doom metal masters Draconian, and Daniel Änghede who's the main force behind electro/shoegaze/goth duo Hearts Of Black Science and member of Crippled Black Phoenix. The music of Ison is mainly inspired by drone, goth, ambient, post-rock and shoegaze, but with Heike's deep fascination towards astral planes and universe everything gains a completely new dimension.

Cosmic Drone consists of five songs with above average playing time for an EP of totally more than 35 minutes and what minutes those are... From the beginning with kind of a gentle soothing ambiances in "Lost Satellites" we are taken over by deeply moving sound that offers an escape from the everyday routine. Everything flows with such ease, yet has the power to hypnotize with its dark charm and eerie atmosphere, just let your mind be conquered by the fascinating "Atlas". Great compositional skills by both artists shine with a mesmerizing combination of guitars, synths and electronica where every single guitar chord, let it be acoustic or heavily distorted, every echoing pulse, cold spherical piano touch and every single beat, with all those perfectly arranged spacey synths and beautifully balanced almost ethereal vocals, all of those and yet all other elements which are only waiting to penetrate your mind are in pitch perfect symbiosis to force the listener to close eyes and submit to the world without cellphone reception or windows to tell if it´s day or night, to the location of total isolation to the outside world. All of the tracks are in a kind of a reasonable connection and are pushed towards some climaxes like is the ending of the overall fantastic cinematic soundscapes in "RedShift", where the two managed to build up the ambiance in such a mesmerizing manner that goes into heights that will shake the soul and make many eyes wet with ease. In a way Cosmic Drone gives a feeling of a light running piece of music, but once you'll pay attention to all the details that are hidden in the background, like various samples, spoken worlds, reverberate subtle electronic pulses that form kind of a hypnotic vibrations and hit with its density of multi layered minimalism the hearing system in all its glory inside the apocalyptic almost doomy, yet psychedelic force in the darkness of cosmic turmoil within "Icosahedron". In the end we are invited on a final seductive travel with the soul caressing "Travelers" with which we are able to reach the heights of endless void above and within us. 

I must also expose the fantastic vocals by both, Heike and Daniel, even though Heike's highly emotional, magical, ethereal yet deep, spherical and strongly seductive vocals are dominant, and I can't wait to hear her sing on the new album of Draconian, as well Daniel's part is truly breathtaking. Both vocals are in perfect balance and in a strong symbiosis with every single instrumental line. Add to all that also well done production which adds a lot of depth and kind of power to the overall picture and you know, the thing can't be more enjoyable. If you still can't imagine the sound of Ison then let me tell you that the elements from both main acts of the artist, Lorelei and Hearts Of Black Science, are implemented in here, but as well you can imagine a perfect mix of the most soul embracing atmospheres of Pink Floyd, the gazeing lightness of Alcest, provocative gentility of Chelsea Wolfe and emotional heights of Anathema painted with some dark colours, then you are near to something like Ison makes. The two modestly named their sonic output cosmic drone and I'm ok with this definition, but still Ison's debut EP offers much more, something almost unutterable beautiful and I believe that this enchanting journey started with Cosmic Drone will soon be crowned by a full lenght album. In the end I can only congratulate to Heike and Daniel for making such a release! (For now this EP is available only as a digital download, the CD and vinyl editions should follow in the near future as all the proceeds of digital sales go to production of physical releases.)

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

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