'ilisu´, phonem´s third release for the morr music label, keeps with the `water´ theme of last year´s `hydro electric´ full length. the album takes its name from the controversial turkish dam building project and apart from giving this album a suitable title it also reflects phonem´s strong political viewpoints.
`ilisu´ is not an expansion on phonem´s previous output, nor a move towards greater complexity, but rather a purification, a clarification of what phonem´s previous releases were trying to communicate. crispy crystal beats and minimal synth melodies don´t battle it out but merely exist next to each other, like natural elements keeping each other in balance. and a perfect balance it is.
perfectionism also shows in phonem´s grainy sound design and carefully programmed beats, steeped in classic hiphop rhythms but somehow always carefully balancing on the brink of collapse. a delicate balance.
seeping through the cracks are phonem´s never ending melodies. steering away from classic song and theme structures, allowing melodies to develop in a linear way, free from their own history, no need to return. melodies that are sometimes cold and icy, often clear and liquid. something to hold onto while they bring the beat down.
since the release of `hydro electric´, phonem´s previous album, elliot perkins has been playing live sets all over the planet, both as phonem and as part of the expanded beta bodega collective, including appearances in the usa and japan. perkins has also released a twelve inch on beta bodega (as spike) and a collaborative album with berlin´s arovane on uk label vertical form.
`ilisu´ could be considered as the final part in a trilogy that started with `phonetik´ (phonem´s first release for morr) and was expanded upon with last year´s `hydro electric´. `ilisu´ is a detailed album that demands detailed listening. it is also the ideal conclusion to this trilogy: a perfectly balanced album that leaves us wondering where phonem will go next?