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Isnaj Dui: 'Unstable Equilibrium' a space for projections

img  Tobias

Your new album is out on Home Normal. In reference to the title: What kind of equilibrium exactly is unstable here?
The title comes from a painting by Paul Klee, an artist whom I have long admired. It seemed a fitting title as although I obviously use repetition in my work, I also enjoy creating an underlying unsettled quality to a piece through slight harmonic changes.

How, would you say, does the new album relate to its predecessor „Ingily Spikin Werld“?
Ingily Spikin Werld was quite a departure from my usual way of working. It was a collaborative work with a storyteller (Guy Jackson) and so I was creating a soundtrack to his existing stories. This meant keeping the tracks slightly sparser than usual and not building the layers as much as I would on a solo work so as to allow the vocal to be heard. I was working on pieces for Unstable Equilibrium at the same time as this album, using the more layered, intricate pieces for the solo release.

One of the aspects making „Unstable Equilibrium“ such a fascinating listen is that it sounds spontaneous and minutely planned at the same time. Which of the two impressions is closer to the truth?
Strangely it’s a bit of both! Once I have the outline of a new work I have a very clear idea in my head of where I want it to go and the piece as a whole comes together quite quickly. Being classically trained certainly helps with this as I have a good idea of what combination of notes to use to create a certain effect. I also like to play new pieces live a few times before recording as new ideas seem to occur to me during performances. When it comes to recording I know the piece so well that I don’t really have to think about what I’m playing which lends it a spontaneous quality.

I was intrigued by the sound of „Unstable Equilibrium“. The flutes, especially, sound as though they were recorded in a huge, natural reverb space. What can you tell us about the production and recording of the album?
I like to create a feeling of space in my work and so use reverb on both recordings and live work. Although I have never really used very many effects, recently I find myself using just reverb to boost the sound of the flute or dulcimer, keeping it as organic as possible whilst still maintaining an other worldly quality. Bass flute lends itself particularly well to creating a deep, rich sound. The actual recording is virtually the same as when I perform live, simply using the loop pedal to build up textures, there were no overdubs on this album which was a nice way of working.

Why did you decide that „unstable equilibrium“ was something for Home Normal rather than your own Fbox Records?
I’ve been running FBox for a few years now but only releasing my own material. After a bit of trial and error I felt comfortable releasing other artists and came across Skarabee whose album I released in September. I had Unstable Equilibrium recorded and by happy chance Ian from Home Normal got in touch asking if I would like to release something. It’s such a brilliant label with a great line up of artists so it seemed a good thing to do!

There was no press release as such for „Unstable Equilibrium“. Do you prefer to let the listener decide what to make of a work himself? 
That was more of a decision for Home Normal but I have had the same approach with previous releases. I find a bit of biographical information is often useful as it puts the work in context but I prefer to leave the listener to work out what they think of the music itself. It’s very personal music but I like to allow room for the listener to project their own mood and feelings onto a piece rather than me influencing that.

Homepage: Isnaj Dui
Homepage: Home Normal Records