Album of the Day: Croatian Amor, “Isa”

On Isa, Croatian Amor’s Loke Rahbek makes his own chimeric mythology, nodding to historic religious figures and events—the title is a Muslim Arabic translation of “Jesus”—while acknowledging the terrifying power of government and military technology. Rahbek enlists vocal contributions from Alto Aria, Soho Rezanejad, HTRK’s Jonnine Standish, Yves Tumor, and Frederikke Hoffmeier (Puce Mary), perhaps an allusion to a central theme in the record—hope in human connection. 

The electronic orchestration on Isa is lush and evocative, waxing both organic and synthetic, delivering clear sonic representation of the themes of technology and humanity. Within seconds of opening song “Towards Isa,” an angelic choir takes center stage; then, the modified synths come in, oscillating between the infantile and the cybernetic, their patterns punctuated by skittering crashes and deep breaths. The song ends with the repeated incantation “All angels meet again”—a transcendent promise of connection.

For all its beauty, Isa is ultimately a record shaded by the looming presence of military technology in our world. An “entirely black airplane” doubles as a guiding symbol for “Eden 1.1” and “Eden 1.2,” two delicate tracks featuring vocals by Hoffmeier and Yves Tumor, respectively, that allude to the dehumanization and fear that surveillance technology can inspire. Even those moments of darkness are pursuant to Rahbek’s faith in kinship, though.

As Isa fades out with its final track “In World Cell,” a sublime track filled with sensual synths and soulful vocals, it’s apparent that even though Rahbek is wielding electronic instruments, his plea is to other humans. “Do you feel the way that I do?” the song asks before fading out, a call to consider others’ perspectives and emotions. Transcendent mission, accomplished.

-Jordan Reyes

 

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