Isla Den
Water Signs EP

by Jim Di Gioia

April 2, 2018


“We’re All Leaving”, the first song on Water Signs, the debut EP from Toronto-based duo Isla Den opens with both a spoken-word welcome from vocalist Ellie Manning and a musical welcome to the ethereal world she and partner Michael Reale create.

Dreamy pop melodies bubble up through Isla Den’s electronic stream of consciousness. “Virtual Copy ii” feels as fragile and ephemeral as a fleeting thought. I wouldn’t be surprised if they told me “Sunless” emerged through improvisation; it’s a loose-limbed electro-pop lullaby with the briefest of tempo spike mid-way through.

Its brevity leaves me wanting more, but thankfully Water Signs is to be followed by two additional EPs later this year. I sense that these other EPs will provide more musical textures and topography for Isla Den to explore in song.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
Jim Di Gioia

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