Colin Fisher Pushes Instruments in New Directions on 'Reflections of the Invisible World'

BY Bryon HayesPublished Mar 25, 2021

Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist Colin Fisher continually pushes his music in new directions. His guitar and saxophone are malleable in his hands, and he stretches the vocabularies of his instruments through electronic sculpting. With 2018's V Le Pape, Fisher began exploring the softer side of his exploratory tendencies. Straying from the frenetic free jazz proffered by Not the Wind, Not the Flag — his duo with percussionist Brandon Valdivia — and exploring new age tendencies, the album featured ornate guitar passages finely honed by electronic processing.

While V Le Pape certainly showcased a new direction for Fisher, it was merely a first step toward a greater goal. Reflections of the Invisible World takes up the mantle of its predecessor and expands on the instrument-as-raw material operational mode that Fisher has been exploring. There are more layers, arranged into complex patterns and rich textures. Fisher employs both intricate guitar melodies and wafting breaths of saxophone, weaving them together into nocturnal emanations that rise like steam from the streets of a misty metropolis. One can't help but wonder if the presence of producer Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys drove Fisher to push his already sweeping vision even further.

Fisher opens the record with a call to arms, signifying the direction he will take for the majority of the album. "Zero Experience" is constructed of layers of processed guitar, yet it unfolds like a waxen structure becoming liquified and taking on a new shape. Only bare traces of the instrument are apparent. He boils the guitar strings in electronics, wringing out grains of sound that coalesce into clouds. When he employs his saxophone, such as on "Coalescence," its woozy timbre adds a hint of jazz. More accurately, Fisher's sax is the ghostly doppelganger of jazz, a David Lynch-inspired version that verges on the uncanny.

Stepping out from behind the veil of electronics, Fisher closes the album with "Sanctum," a minimally processed duet of guitar and saxophone. It's here where his instrumental prowess shines through. Ringing chords wrap themselves around Fisher's breathy yet lyrical saxophone. In the midst of the incantation, he executes a series of guitar solos that are at once incredibly quick and highly melodic. It's almost as if Fisher wants to bring his listeners back down from orbit after they've consumed the dreamy vistas he just finished presenting. This act of elevating and then grounding the proceedings creates a narrative arc within the album, transforming Reflections of the Invisible World from a collection of experiments into a fully realized vision woven by a master sonic storyteller.
(Halocline Trance)

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