'On Isolation' CD compilation by ::Room40::

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The disc features new works from:

Stephen Vitiello,
David Toop,
Dale Lloyd,
Richard Chartier,
For Barry Ray,
Jeph Jerman,
Sebastien Roux,
Zane Trow,
Janek Schaefer,
Ben Owen,
Richard Francis and Nest,
Ben Frost
Greg Davis.

The concepts of isolation – in social, geographic and virtual settings have spawned various creative investigations over the centuries. Guided by the philosophical premise of social theorists such as Zygmunt Bauman, Room40 and the University Of Tasmania collaborated in the curation of a series of sound artworks, found sound pieces and musical interjections spurred on by the notion of ‘isolation’.

The results of the contributions vary widely but all meditate on the states of being alone or in situations whereby you are disconnected from familiar codes, social spaces and protocols.

These recordings were made in response to a call to interpret senses of disconnection, isolation and solitude. The cd was provided to delegates attending a conference in Hobart in 2006 at the University of Tasmania to help awaken a deep imagination and engagement with these matters. The meeting, set up as an antidote to dominant discourses of globalism, seamless connectivity and information flows, provided a space to discuss both the despair and enchantments that might be contained within numerous fractured spaces, unknown remaining landscapes and social constellations.


Curated by Lawrence English. Package design by Richard Chartier.


The more I think about it, the more I realise that isolation is the perfect, even obvious theme for a compilation of minimal experimental music. It's always been an isolated experience, both listening and creating these kind of icy, glacial soundscapes and Aussie minimal champions Room40 have seen it fit to give the musicians that specific brief to work with, and put a magnifying glass on what's so darned lonely about it all. The label also manages to rope in some of the most important isolationists in the genre to help them along the way; Steinbruchel, David Toop, Greg Davis, Richard Chartier, John Chantler (seen here with Mrs Chantler, Carina Thoren), Janek Schaeffer and Ben Frost among many others all turning in quite unimaginably beautiful work. However don't for a second think this is going to be easy listening, within the prettiness of what emerges from the tracks is a well-measured sense of despair, isolation and seclusion – basically what making experimental music teases from us anyway, but this is plain for the world to see. Take David Toop's 'Chair Creaks, but No-One Sits There' for instance, this sounds something like being sat alone on a mountain top in deepest darkest china with the feeling that the world could have ended, you could be the only person left on earth, and why bother to care about that? Elsewhere Janek Schaefer's 'Alone at Last' accentuates that familiar resonating sound of rain on a window and from that erupts shards of twisted melody taking you to the most fragile parts of your childhood. I have rarely heard such a successful collection of minimal experimental music, maybe this connecting thread has helped to unify the music in a way rarely achieved – but the coherence and narrative is truly stunning. If you're feeling like you're the only one that understands what loneliness is, then grab this without delay – without realising it Room40 just made loneliness a lot more inclusive. Excellent stuff.

"'On Isolation' is a tasty compilation, well chosen and sequenced and worth everyone’s time."

"Another outstanding release form the superb Room40 label [...] modern minimalism rarely sounds this good... highly, highly recommended."