Just the name An Isolated Mind creates an impression, and reading the story of the man behind this solo project from California suggests a complex journey. “Despite its deep post-metal roots, “I’m Losing Myself” embraces both death and doom metal as seen through the altering lenses of ambient music. The result is a psychedelic journey into a wounded psyche, a downwards spiral into feelings of melancholy, angst and depression”, we are told.
“We Are Fragile Vibrations” starts it off by taking us to a scary world, but the sinister peace is broken with the harsh and heavy echoes of “Afraid of Dissonance”. Fear and the depiction of it run through this work. The chords are dissonant, but what is most striking is the ferocious heaviness, as the vocal screams match the instrumental chasms of darkness. The meaty djent gives way to saxophonic melancholy. It’s chilling. The industrial type black metal of “Eternity In A Minute” reminds me of the likes of Anaal Nathrakh and Aborym. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s discomforting, but as we enter cosmic sound fields it occurs to me that although experimental and as a result interesting, at the core is psychological disturbance. This is represented adeptly with each movement. It’s like being dragged through a chaotic mental journey. Paradoxically, although it’s chaotic, it’s vivid at the same time. “Eternity In A Minute” rises powerfully before giving way to the equally engaging “Turritopsis Dohrnii”. It’s another world of vast and intense sounds, where shadows and echoes are present, adding powerful dimensions to the thunderous sounds. There are no rules. Without warning the thunder stops and a sinister, melancholic passage ensues. It’s akin to post rock at this point, as ambient gloom takes over for the final section of this ten minute epic. I heard a little Astra here in the cloudy style. “Pathologized Existence” is another twisty journey. The creator plays again with the tempo. To start, heavy experimentalism represents a chaotic world in a dissonant but powerful way, then it smoothly transitions to a roaring world of agony and despair, like a voice wanting to be heard in all this darkness and noise. It is impressive and thought-provoking.
The last 26 minutes of this work comprise two instrumental pieces, “I’m Losing Myself” and “I’ve Lost Myself”. The start of “I’m Losing Myself” is reflective and quiet. The repetition is very much out of the post rock genre. Sound waves, a cascading piano and other random sounds add colour and eeriness to the delicate air. The sounds start to expand and become stronger, as if the delicacy can no longer be reined in, and uncontrollable disturbing images are throbbingly presented to us. “I’ve Lost Myself” continues what has now become a space odyssey. It’s personal to the artist of course, but after 17 minutes of this I now felt I was at a distance, whereas to this point the power and impact of the music and its adventurous delivery had placed themselves in my head so that I was part of its journey.
On the face of it, this should be a tortuous journey, but it isn’t because An Isolated Mind makes a connection with us through a series of colourful and vivid structures. Each passage makes a musical statement. Moreover “I’m Losing Myself” is interesting to listen to, inspiring for the most part even in spite of its disturbing psychological nature.
(8/10 Andrew Doherty)