February: 18 albums you need to hear this month - Albums - Mixmag
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February: 18 albums you need to hear this month

That's the month sorted, then

  • Mixmag Crew
  • 3 February 2017
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Lord Of The Isles 'In Waves' (ESP Institute)

We almost missed this one. So to ensure ‘In Waves’ made waves in the pages of Mixmag, we went back to it – and boy will you be glad you did, too. Lord Of The Isles, aka producer and graphic designer Neil McDonald, has been writing and producing for almost a decade, the enigmatic releases finding homes on key electronic imprints like Permanent Vacation, Phonica and Mule Music. His debut album, released via LA label ESP Institute, is fresh and spectacular. McDonald says an early fascination with Scottish history inspired his moniker, as well as being dragged around the Highlands by his parents as a young child. Those trips clearly made an impact on him, because ‘In Waves’ is laced with beautiful chord progressions and colours as bright as tartan. He seems to be as in touch with nature as he is with percussion and quirky melodies, as demonstrated by the sound of waves washing over pianos on the title track. Its 15 tracks are the epitome of otherworldly electronic sophistication and yes, for the most part they’re as Balearic as a classic DJ Harvey disco re-edit. Certain tracks stick out: the glitchy Balearic bounce of ‘Liobasta’ is an early highlight, as is the smooth cinematic touch of ‘Obar Lìobhaite’. The Âme/Dixon-ish bleep masterclass ‘Weh-In’ doesn’t put a foot wrong over eight scorched minutes, either, while the subtly breathtaking ‘Yanomami’ isn’t far behind. You can catch Lord Of The Isles at Primavera next summer; don’t miss the boat. Ralph Moore


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