Lord Of The Isles (Neil MacDonald)
Ask anyone about their first time hearing Lord Of The Isles, and invariably accounts will describe having unexpectedly wading into a deep river of sound. Rich and immersive, each of Lord Of The Isles’ creations has stood singularly unique and opted towards the sublime. Since 2010 Neil MacDonald has channeled his imagination musically through Lord Of The Isles with projects weaving ambient, deep techno, analogue house, and Italo with Balearic flair and cinematic expansiveness. As a DJ, MacDonald has been building momentum by touring his LOTI moniker throughout Europe’s club circuit, with stops at Berghain/Panorama Bar, Concrete and Trouw. As a producer, LOTI betrays MacDonald’s revere for the vast Highlands of his native Scotland — mimicking natural beauty with a deft balancing of elements. To house his diverse bank of influences LOTI has released across a range of labels including Toto, Permanent Vacation, Mule Musiq, Ene, Phonica, Firecracker, ESP Institute.
Lord Of The Isles’ four-track “Irafas” EP, forthcoming on the Barcelona imprint Lone Romantic, demonstrates MacDonald’s continued mastery of tone and timbre, mood and groove. The title track kicks off by intertwining stringed synthtopia with an acidic staccato grounded in a rich low-end pulse. “W5 Alpha” continues the all-enveloping warmth of “Irafas” base layer with a deliciously disparate palate of sounds, driven by a celestial arpeggio and a dusty collage of breaks. The B-side sets the listener loose in a garden of synthetic vines that pierce the long-decay smothering of bass with “Q-bit”; a track that maintains equal kinship with the bouncing exploration of a dance floor as with the cool tones and discrete resolutions of an Henri Rousseau painting. “Three Times Eleven” reads as a tribute to MacDonald’s early fascination with John Carpenter and Vangelis soundtracks, combining emotive synth arpeggios and cyborg vocal washes in a fly-by depiction of an eerie and beautiful sonic landscape.