Speed of Sound Explosionby Nathan Zeno / 24.08.2009
My photographer leans over to me and says, “This Band is so tight they aren’t even South African,” and is drowned out in a wave of synth rock out awesomeness. For the first part of Isochronous’s set, the last date in their two month long Speed Of Sound tour around the country, the audience just stands there, not quite sure how to deal with the onslaught, the harmonic, nuanced onslaught, but that’s a Durban crowd. There has to be a moment when everybody checks with their friends to see if its okay to enjoy the band.
Isochronous display a deep disregard for the obvious with a boyish rigour. Lyrically Brokensha flings out mathematical concepts and beauty queens, something the design work on their album sleeves and tour posters should prepare you for. Isochronous are so deeply musically and conceptually rooted in a progressive rock aesthetic, that watching them live is similar to a being taken aboard a spaceship and driven hard into a fractal with air punches.
Wave after wave of wrist breaking half time to quarter time to full on breaks and diversions that are all part of each song’s journey. Couple all of this with airy high harmonics and layers of noise guitar. They lift the crowd up and float them down, never for a moment letting a groove become stagnant.
By the second half of the set, the support bands are standing backstage looking on in awe, those that haven’t slunk away in embarrassment. There is a certain bombastic naiveté to Isochronous that in it’s enthusiasm is infectious, they veer from total musical intelligence to air guitar adolescence in bursts of euphoric crowd pleasing.
Isochronous’ ease and enthusiasm illustrate that the idea of classifying (and making excuses for) bands as “South African” is a cop out on a major level. Isochronous have their own identity and sound and brand of honesty in music and they display it with an attention to technical detail that surpasses narrow definition.
By the end of the set, the whole of Burn is packed around the front of stage, and it’s still a small crowd. The word spread, the upstairs dance floor empty, the obviousness of the brilliance finally sinking in. And when it does end the too small crowd (this town doesn’t know where the good shit is, man) breaks into applause bigger than the sum of their parts. Kinda like Isochronous.
Images courtesy and © Kevin Goss Ross