It’s through the final ten minutes of George FitzGerald’s relentlessly charming mixtape for XLR8R that we only recently stumbled upon the breathtaking sounds of Lord of the Isles, and we’re glad to have done so better late than never. The versatility displayed in this fairly mystical Scottish producer’s body of work is rather remarkable, with his debut EP on the Japanese Ene Records portraying a significantly mellow ambiance whereas his releases “Ultraviolet” and “Hot Blobs EP”, which came out last year on Adult Contemporary and Little Strong Recordings respectively, sound more like they’ve been sonically translated from the incoming communication signals of Tiraquon6. His motive to traverse across a range of palettes remains uncompensated in the quality of music as he holds a firm grip over an assorted variety of soundscapes. His latest release comes on Unthank, a sub-label of Edinburgh house label Firecracker Recordings that sprouted into life about two years ago, and has very gradually brought out a single annual release so far. Both offspring and parent label are characterized by their absolute dedication, delicate care and attention to detail that’s paid in all of the music and everything that surrounds it, which has steadily been held on to throughout the labels. Most prominently, it can be traced back into every single minutia of the distinctive and perfectly aesthetically pleasing silk-screened artwork that’s been provided by imprint curator House of Traps on all three of Unthank’s limited vinyl pressings to date.
Lord of the Isles’ “Futures” is an enveloping journey that sketches all of the ups and downs you might encounter in your travels, and in that lies its strength; where most explorative-sounding EPs tie in perfectly with one certain aspect of a quest, Lord of the Isles instead portrays an entire odyssey effortlessly in five tracks and refuses to be constrained by one thematic experience. Where the title track “Futures” is a stripped-down and eager opener to get acquainted, what follows is “A2B”, a sensational, wholesome and impeccably enthralling track with the seeming ability to consume all five of your senses and most noticeably sounds like it should be echoing from a basement through a ghost of Detroit past. “The Autumn House” and “Badan An Droma” both act as an ambient come-down in their own separately peculiar ways and the concluding “Stolen Sleep” is a powerful period of time that creates space for reflection and tranquil evaluation of the expedition thus far. It’s an encompassing voyage that might have you wandering for days, but we promise you it’s worth every minute of your time.
Lord of the Isles’ Futures EP is available now on vinyl via Firecracker Recordings’ sub-label Unthank.