Review

Isolee

Resort Island

Resort Island • 2023

It was a small sensation when Rajko Müller announced his first Isolée album in twelve years. In the end, however, »Resort Island« sounds anything but sensational—and luckily so! After the microhouse legend had released only a handful EPs for labels like Pampa, Mule Musiq or Maeve at irregular intervals, the album marks the launch of Müller’s eponymous label. Already the opener »Coco’s Visa« makes it clear that the friendliness that has always been inherent in his music has by no means been lost and that its funkiness, usually presented with a tongue in cheek, has been enriched with more atmospheric overtones. The short pieces especially call to mind the intricate yet playful aesthetics of, yes, Ulrich Schnauss. And yet, over the course of ten tracks, this is pure Isolée, which also means the musical parameters are always subtly shifted and adjusted. »Pardon My French« wears its heart on its sleeve as a nod to Daft Punk and other French touch icons, »Modernation« pushes a few strangely familiar samples across the mix with carefree joy and »Clap Gently« toys with weird rhythmic-melodic ideas that seem to mutate constantly. Admittedly, none of that is inherently surprising, but it is … just very, very good. In fact, »Resort Island« makes it seem a bit like Müller hasn’t set foot in a club in the past twelve years. Whenever he comes near to a classic minimal techno and tech house sound, he does so in an unconcerned way as if completely oblivious to the gentrification of these genres. And after the recent arms to breakneck BPM numbers and the proliferation of ever brighter sounds and chords, »Con o Sin« carefully reminds us that neither tempo nor high-octane melodies are needed for peak-time material—that instead, above all, timing, a knack for arrangement and sometimes simple, stubborn perseverance are what counts at the end of the night. And these are the basic ingredients in the recipe of timeless music, and it is precisely them that form the foundation of this wonderfully untimely album. Who needs sensations if you can have that?