Sonic Vortexby Roger Young, images by Dain Withani / 24.05.2010
Zaz Thunder the sometime Ozzy Osbourne impersonator, reaches up to tap me on my shoulder, “that drummer is a fucking animal” he says as Isochronous feed off one of Marko’s complex and sonically clean drum breaks into another space spiral rock out.
I kinda promised myself that I wouldn’t write about Isochronous this weekend but when they’re so much better than everything else that’s going on right now, it’s hard not to. Isochronous may be playing a beautiful, almost technically perfect acoustic set around the country at the moment but to truly appreciate them as musicians you have to see both that and their super charged electric set as well.
At the Willowvale on Friday night they played to a small crowd dotted with Durban cynicism, the room may have only had about eighty people in it but Isochronous make it feel like a stadium, there might be only ten hands in the air but their psycedelic jazz rock makes it feel like thousands. The beauty of Isochronous is their tightness, the nuanced way they change rythmn, their raw enthusiasm and Richard’s manic almost Bollywood conducter arm throwing, playing the audience like a sixth instrument. They’re a bit like Muse if you were to remove everything that echoes Brian Molko, prog-rockish but with more jazz, psycedelic but less LSD and more science, sonically similar to Mew but with an entirely different emotional outcome, essentially Isochronous are a band unto themselves, jazz played classical rock with crazy guitar hero stances. They’re Super tight, sometimes tight enough to break.
And then they do, break, into another pounding driving bassline driven chorus, the audience singing along to the almost nonsensical esoteric mathematician lyrics “And when the sacred souls can live happily, tonight, Fake Mountains Rise.”. Later, like always I’ll ask myself what does that lyric even mean? But in the moment on the floor it all makes perfect sense. From “White City” to “The Tempest” to, of course “Beauty Queen” Isoc’s familiar tracks only get better every time you hear them, the more you engage with their music, the more you discover.
As the set ends Franco announces new merchandise as “panties with Richard’s face on them, on the inside”. Isochronous play serious music, with serious abandon but they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is why its always a beautiful surprise to be sucked into their crazy vortex of sound.
All images © Dain Withani.