A1 coco's visa 3:15
A2 canada balsam 6:18
B1 pardon my french 5:26
B2 con o sin 5:42
B3 let's dence 3:32
C1 modernation 5:28
C2 rumour (album version) 6:35
D1 clap gently 2:39
D2 tender date 5:22
D3 7eleven2 4:41
In the story of 21st century club music, isolée, the German artist born Rajko Müller, has been a kind of scampish poet, testing the limits of the artform, his records glowing with playfulness and human emotion. The surreal aura of his sound made 1998's “beau mot plage" a mega-hit, forever earning
him credit as an architect of microhouse—a style he'd long outgrown by his second album, the critically acclaimed we are monster, and its follow-up, well spent youth. After a decade of hiding in the rafters between scattered EPs on Pampa and Maeve, isolée returns with resort island, his fourth
album, and the first on his new label of the same name.
Arriving more than 20 years after his seminal early records, resort island shows isolée's talent completely unbound, his ineffable sound hitting yet another dizzying peak.
Müller crafted these tracks over the past two years, working night after night at his home studio in Hamburg. "Most nights I would work until I simply couldn't hear anymore," he said. "One by one, the tracks came together. Eventually I had a feeling, like, 'Ah, the puzzle is starting to show its picture.'"
The result is a record as that's in turns hazy and thumping, euphoric and melancholy, always delivered in brilliant splashes of color. "coco's visa" sets the tone, its soft chords lapping against the drums like waves against a dock. Gentle moments like this and the exquisitely bittersweet "let's
dence" offset dreamlike club tracks of the kind only Müller could make. "canada balsam" is vintage isolée, its gently thwacking beat a cradle for sounds that echo minimal as much as disco. "pardon my french", true to its name, brings a cheeky hint of French touch. "con o sin", despite its house
tempo, has the haunting mood of classic trip-hop. "rumour", the album's first single, is all ghostly strings and loping synths, a mellow joy-ride in magic hour light. Much of what we've always loved about isolée is here—the controlled energy, the sense that anything could happen next, and perhaps most importantly, an emotional range as rich as it is ambiguous. But there's also something that sets it apart, a feeling that the album flows not from his past records, but simply came into being on its own, as if out of thin air. Müller felt something similar as he made it.
"In my early years," he says, "I was listening to lots of records, going out clubbing a lot. I had a clear reference for what I was contributing to. Nowadays this is less the case. Also, for many years I felt I was competing with the expectations set by my early records. I don't feel that anymore. But I still have the dance floor in mind as a place where music happens, with the aim of triggering people's emotions and imagination."
As a concept, resort island riffs on the morality of escapism, and the tension between beauty and superficiality. "I have this image of all these holiday islands," Müller says. "I can understand the wish to go there, to escape. The idea of escaping, from real life, and at the same time, ignoring all the problems in the world, the fear around you. That's not a good way to live, but it feels OK to do this in music, maybe even healthy, because it's just for a certain amount of time. I like playing around with
this image, this feeling of ambivalence."