isis panopticon

Isis‘ monumental 2004 album Panopticon has aged fairly well, but with it nearing its 10 year anniversary, I’m sure it’s difficult for the powers that be to let such an influential record pass by the decade mark without doing something special. That’s why Ipecac Recordings will be reissuing the album with a glossy remaster this April. Fret not though, the dynamic won’t be lost, and it’s got the now defunct band’s seal of approval.

Here’s the press release, verbatim:

Feb. 20, 2014, San Francisco – Following last year’s reissue of ISIS’ debut album, Celestial, a re-mastered version of the seminal band’s third album, Panopticon, is slated for an April 29 release via Ipecac Recordings (CD/digital).
“After some years away from the material, Panopticon now feels like the most optimistic of all the ISIS albums, dark as the subject mater may be,” explained singer/guitar player Aaron Turner. “Giving voice to my concerns about the loss of privacy and the deterioration of personal freedom through the lyrics on the album made those subjects weigh less heavily on my mind. Something about the sound of the songs feels open and bright to me as well – post-millennial depression and pre-apocalyptic paranoia hadn’t yet taken hold I suppose. Panopticon also feels like a turning point to me in the trajectory of ISIS, and serves as a personal place-marker for me in terms of how the world of music and music consumption was shifting radically around that time. Things have certainly become cloudier since then and more uncertain – in that way the subject matter of Panopticon also now seems a bit premonitory.”
The reissue of the 2004 release, which Pitchfork said “evokes a sense of creeping voyeurism” and Mojo described as “a breathtaking balance of instrumental maelstrom with devastating, near elemental power,” also includes new packaging, featuring a 12-page booklet created by Turner.
“I got the check disk from the manufacturer the other day and listened to Panopticon all the way through to make sure things were good to go. It was like taking a journey back in time,” added drummer Aaron Harris. “When ISIS was playing these songs regularly I wasn’t able to enjoy them as a listener. Now that I haven’t played these songs in years they’ve taken on a whole new identity for me. Mika Jussila did an amazing job with the re-master. The record has more detail and dynamics now. I feel that re-masters sometime ruin the integrity of records, but I feel that fans will really appreciate this re-master, and maybe find a new appreciation for Panopticon, as I have.”
This is great news, but there’s a disappointment in the remaster not coming to vinyl. My fingers are crossed that plans are in the works. At any rate, hearing a spiffied-up Panopticon will be a treat for sure.
And in case you’re not familiar with the album that helped inspire an entire genre, stream the track ‘In Fiction’ below.
– JR

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