Review: Isambard Khroustaliov – This Is My Private Beach, This Is My Jetsam (Not Applicable, Apr 19)

Sam Britton, who makes music under the alias Isambard Khroustaliov, commands electronics the way a painter wields their brush. Regardless of whether This Is My Private Beach, This Is My Jetsam is meticulously composed, skillfully improvised, or some equally masterful combination of both, it transposes textures and sounds one might associate with cold artificiality to something wonderfully organic. “Psychic Zero,” the longest track on the disc, is based around an experimental synthesis engine Britton constructed with colleague Patrick Bergel, and forms an endless stream of digital buzzes, granular drones, and restless glitches into fluid, flowing currents. The final moments are nothing short of enrapturing, as the crackling electric clouds that have spent the last twenty-odd minutes shifting into various shapes almost completely break down into a sparse pitter-patter of tactile clicks. The next two pieces expand on the lifelike quality of Britton’s sonic sculptures in a more direct way, utilizing processed samples of his son Kip’s voice to engage in very abstract conversation with quirky synth cells and plasticky electronic contortions. Much like its cover, This Is My Private Beach becomes a beautifully scattered display of color despite its abiotic origins, like the spilling consciousness of a dying android.