Isnaj Dui: "Nature of Light"


By George Bass | 3 August 2012

There’s a flash site called Solar Beat where you can hear the music of the spheres: a model of the galaxy shows the nine planets in orbit, each one chiming as it passes the sun. A slide button allows you to control the speed, turning the sound from bursts of blips to an overlapping, ambient blur. It’s possible this is how Katie English organized her studio when she was preparing this track for Abstract on Solitude, her first album for art label Hibernate, and one that sounds like Solar Beat with a few extra moons.

While her signature flute English can be a gamble for the unadventurous ambient fan, the way she incorporates it into “Nature of Light” will leave even the hardiest woodwind-skeptic in a trance. English plays notes around Vangelis-style synths and panpipes to create a gentle, five-minute breathing technique; arranged into loops, and cycling like Solar Beat’s real orbital frequencies. Nothing special happens except the unbroken feeling of calm, completely natural but otherworldly—something no other artist has pulled off this year, unless John Cage re-records “4’33” with a chorus of dolphins.