Richard and Sarah Isen have worked together on ‘Into The Blue’ to produce a cool collection of five tracks that cover both the new and the old.
Richard Isen – Into The Blue
As an uncle-nice duo, it is evident the two are on the same wavelength; both personally and musically. Tracks such as the bright and toe-tapping ‘Too Sweet’ highlight this best. Driven by Sarah’s smooth crooning, Richard’s jaunty piano interplay pairs perfectly to create a sense of playfulness. Touching upon diabetes- something Sarah has suffered from since a young age- the pair are unafraid to display the importance of personal matters. The other brand-new track (‘What the River Knows’) dabbles in exploring the Tao Te Ching- a classic Chinese text that espouses how one can live a life of integrity and goodness. With each written for Sarah, both musicians display a deep understanding of one another that reaches its musical crescendo in the complex finale of ‘What the River Knows’.
Ranging from older classics nestled amongst Richard’s theatre work (‘Into the Blue’ from ‘Quantum Janis’, a piece about a parallel universe Janis Joplin) to two new tracks written for Sarah, the project never fails to be catchy or captivating.
With a list of influences ranging from Tom Waits to Leonard Cohen and beyond (many fantastic covers of which you can find on Richard’s Youtube channel), Richard’s history as a jazz lounge performer and theatrical experimenter come to the foreground. Both ‘Don’t Ask the Moon’ and ‘Winter Wishes’ are slower tracks; with ‘Winter Wishes’ in particular providing a standout display from both Sarah and Richard. While not a new track written specifically for Sarah, she performs it perfectly. As the finale on Richard’s 2000 project ‘Let it Fall’, this version is even more evocative of the strong sense of theatricality and desire to return home found in the original recording. Against the backdrop of “cold white against dirty grey”, where even the “addicts found their way inside”, there are not one but two figures finding their way home together.
Check out Richard and Sarah’s new EP ‘Into the Blue’ now on all the best streaming platforms. This is a project that is at once moving, motivating and filled to the brim with enthralling melodies. Make sure not to miss this labour of love, from their family to yours.
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Words Angus Nisbet