Jamie Isaac: ‘(04:30) Idler / Sleep’ review

What I Know:
Jamie Isaac is a producer and classically-trained vocalist from Croydon.

His first two EPs, I Will Be Cold Soon and Blue Break were released in 2013 and 2014 respectively, before debut album Couch Baby dropped in 2016.

The follow-up LP, (04:30) Idler is released today.

What I Like:
Isaac once credited sleep itself as being one of the primary inspirations behind Couch Baby, telling DummyMag.com, “When/if I do get to sleep it’s something that I love doing. I have vivid dreams.”

And so comes his ode to one of his favourite – if oft-neglected – past-times. And it is (04:30) Idler / Sleep that has confirmed the South Londoner as one of my finds of the year so far. I came this (*pinches his thumb and fore-finger together*) close to featuring him a month or so ago when his track Maybe came out and then, without even realizing they were the same artist, I picked this latest release as my Peaceful Protest choice this week from practically the minute I heard it.

The best way I can describe it is like de-constructed jazz. What ultimately builds to a track of near Cinematic Orchestra-sized proportions with pitter-patter drums and atmospherics interlocking jazz pianos, flutes and saxes, starts as a sparse, minimalist meander.

Indeed, he was once praised for “favouring space and atmosphere over production histrionics” and that is abundantly in evidence here where, despite all of the above (and more) going on, the track manages to retain, throughout, a meditative quality fitting of its name.

But what is particularly noticeable on (04:30) Idler / Sleep, over and above Maybe is how rich and versatile Isaac’s voice is. The track really steps up when, just shy of two minutes in, he reaches for the falsetto.

Combined with a cracking ear for a chord-change, it makes Isaac one hell of a triple-threat. How wonderful of him to share his “vivid dreams” with us.

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