BAND OF THE WEEK: IS/IS

9 Feb

Who wishes to describe the music of Is/Is? Who would enjoy the attempt – an attempt, by definition, in vain – to put words to the sounds that live well beyond words? Who wouldn’t rather just ride through these eight songs, one at a time, one more time, simply letting each song exist in space, just as it is?

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Is? Is. Just as it is. When it comes to sound, it’s impossible to say what Is/Is … is … but it’s not difficult. It’s uncomplicated, but it’s not easygoing. No, not easygoing. Radiant. Sharp. A revolving embrace of confusion and awakening, pressed into the shape of songs. Guitars and drums and voice. Impossible – not difficult. Their sound resounds, shining down with pure effort – effortlessly.

We could set up camp on the island that is Is/Is-land, though the band’s land is not an island at all. They come from the land of the ice and the snow, where “MST3K” was filmed and Daughters of the Sun rose. Yet there’s something warm in the sound of songs like “Hunter,” which we either mistakenly translate as a pulse that beats for the thaw of the heart, or fail to recognize as the serpent’s coil, in the trance of the freezing moon. It is. It isn’t. Is/Is. It can obsess you.

Beware, warriors of ice! Enter into des mysteriis dom Is/Is. Turn it up.

The new self-titled LP by Is/Is is out on Manimal Vinyl.

“The world and the self really do appear to us as frozen. Our personal problems, our self-definitions, what we hear from those around us—all these convincing and compelling experiences invite us to clutch at concepts, positions, worries. We naturally build vast structures of ice to hold in place the world and the self, chilly and confined. But the experience of art can shake us free of all that. Art can save us from freezing.” – Norman Fischer 

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