A Sense of Place: Isolarii by Corey Fuller and Richard Skelton

Isolarii is a word with roots going back to the Renaissance age that means ‘island books’. It represents a distinctive literary form that fuses many place-specific components together into a singular narrative that encompasses maps, nautical charts, travelogues, and history blended with elements of myth and legend. Its mere description ignites the imagination and so it serves as a most intriguing title for the 20th edition of the THESIS project which brings together two artists for the first time who are singular in their own right – American composer and multimedia artist Corey Fuller, who grew up in rural Japan and currently resides in Tokyo, and multi-disciplinary artist & musician Richard Skelton, a UK artist whose research-led practice covers a range of media including text, music and film.

The reference they chose for the stunning musical work they created was, fittingly, the book ‘Atlas of Remote Islands’ by Judith Schalansky.

Fuller sent Skelton a copy during lockdown, and it became a tacit guiding text for their ensuing collaboration, as both artists were islanded, and geographically remote from each other (Fuller in Japan, Skelton in the UK). As travel restrictions tightened, they exchanged recordings of cello, accordion and piano as a way of circumventing those geographical limitations — of making musical excursions into unknown waters.

Inspired first-time collaborations have been a hallmark of THESIS from its inception and Isolarii continues this trend as Fuller’s bold, emotive compositional style finds a perfect complement in the visceral resonance of Skelton’s brooding musical soundscapes. Tone, timbre, and melody are the tools they use to effectively hew out the contours of a richly imagined place while endowing it with a sense of remoteness and mystery that suggests the multitude of stories it might hold within. And for those who feel the journey ends to soon, Fuller has indicated this is but the first taste of an ongoing collaboration, so we can look forward in eager anticipation for more to come.

Links: Bandcamp (CD/digital/print) | THESIS | Corey Fuller | Richard Skelton

THESIS 20 – Isolarii is available in two 10-inch black vinyl editions – the standard edition with laser etched sleeve (200 copies) and the limited with handmade sleeve (100 copies). Digital downloads are an option as well as an 11″ x 11″ art print on 310 gsm photo rag. The album was mastered by Taylor Deupree and all artwork is provided by Gregory Euclide. Note: You may wish to read the label’s comments on pandemic related shipping delays before ordering.