[7/9/19] I.S.O. - s/t (1999)

I.S.O. Album CoverHello World! I guess this is my first entry on this website! As you can see, the whole point of this website is to talk about art that I like. This can be art of any medium, but I'll mainly be talking about music. I might talk about books, movies, or physical pieces of art if I ever find anything interesting enough. I had a website exactly like this around last year, but it's long gone now. I deleted it because I didn't really have time to work on it. Luckily, I do now, so hopefully, I'll be able to update more often. Anyway, the piece of art I'll be talking about today is the 2nd self-titled album by I.S.O; Released in 1999 on Alcohol Records.

I.S.O. is an experimental electronic group composed of Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku. (Otomo and Sachiko were both members of a great Experimental Rock group called "Ground-Zero". I'll probably cover something they made in a future entry.) I.S.O. perform a strange genre of music called "Onkyo". Onkyo is a little hard to describe, but I think the following paragraph from Onkyo's genre page on RateYourMusic describes it well.

Onkyo is a form of Japanese Experimental music that focuses on the exploration of the physical traits of sound rather than music as a form of expression. Since Onkyo is based solely on these actions of the musicians with their works, the genre is inclusive to a variety of different musicians and aesthetics. Still, performances are minimal with the inclusion of large gaps of silence; as well, these performances often tend to be stoic in nature. Source: RateYourMusic

Anyway, this album is extremely cold. It doesn't really even sound like humans had a part in making this. It sounds like music deconstructed to its molecular level. When I listen to this, I imagine a clean white lab with machines doing various experiments and such. I guess it kinda sounds like this image. This stuff is extremely alienating. This might even cause a few people to have trouble with this record. I can imagine some people might say "Is this even music?". That's a great question, but a far too complex one for me to answer. I mean, some philosophers are still arguing about this still today. There's no way that some dude on the internet like me would be able to give a concrete answer. I view this as music because of the following.

I know that my idea of music has like a 95% chance of being extremely flawed, and is 100% just to try to defend my shitty music taste, but who cares. I mean, I don't really listen to this for it's "musical properties". I mainly listen for the imagery that this album puts in my mind. It's actually really fun to close your eyes and explore the places and locations the sounds put you in. Like I said earlier, I mostly think of clean labs with fancy science stuff, but I also can think of strange alien planets, or hospitals. What you get from the music is extremely subjective (like all music). You might just think it's unlistenable and random noise! You might not see any of the imagery that I think of! All I know is how I feel, and I really really like this album.