Much has changed since we last heard from George Issakidis. In the nine years that have passed since the release of his debut solo album, Karezza, the world has become a darker, more chao=c place, with a global pandemic, a rise in right-wing authoritarianism, war in Ukraine and the worsening climate crisis contribu=ng to an impending sense of doom. Those who follow the ancient teachings of Hinduism may cite this as evidence of the imminent end of the Kali Yuga, the fourth and final part of the yuga cycle – a ‘dark age’ filled with war, conflict, and declining spirituality. It’s the Kali Yuga, and par=cularly Issakidis’s own efforts to forge a path through these turbulent =mes via daily yoga study and prac=ce, that provided the inspira=on behind his latest project. To be shared with the public over a series of albums, Naviga.ng The Kali Yuga takes his music in a myriad of mesmerising, otherworldly and thought-provoking new direc=ons, balancing oblique instrumental commentary on 21st century society with snapshots of his own intense, blissful and life-changing experiences through yoga – and in par=cular his own kundalini awakening, an ecsta=c experience radia=ng from the base of the spine that lasted for months. The first thing listeners will note is that it is a very different musical journey to those Issakidis has travelled in the past. Ini=ally associated with techno thanks to his 1990s work – ini=ally as part of the Micronauts, and then with Speedy J – Issakidis gently moved away from his club roots on Karezza, even if the album’s buzzing and hallucinatory electronic concoc=ons s=ll glanced fur=vely towards the dancefloor. Naviga.ng The Kali Yuga Volume One features a series of electronic soundscapes that are variously deeply psychedelic, disturbingly discordant, effortlessly ethereal and unusually picturesque. Issakidis created them over a number of years at his home studio in Vancouver, u=lizing an extended process of hardware manipula=on, improvisa=on and edi=ng. His use of a dizzyingly long list of analogue and modular synthesizers – including many rare and custom-built pieces – helps to give the album’s seven tracks an unearthly, =meless and on occasions disconcer=ngly unseUling feel. At first heady and intoxica=ng (see the =psy melodies, cascading mo=fs and Radiophonic Workshop pulses of ‘Ourania’), then tribalis=c and intensely psychedelic (‘Sa Caroca’, with its echoing notes and reverb-doused half-rhythm, and the undeniably freaky ‘Apana’), Naviga.ng The Kali Yuga Volume 1 provides a slowly shi]ing soundtrack that gently edges towards a more hopeful conclusion. There are hints of this bright new dawn on ‘Slow Ecstasy’, whose alien-sounding electronics are buzzing with enraptured joy, but it’s on the album’s two longest tracks that the picture becomes clearer and Issakidis’s vision more blissful. This slow-mo=on transforma=on begins with ‘Deer Horns (The Upper Triangle)’, a 12-minute ambient excursion in which prolonged notes and tones seemingly dri] above icy, glacial chords and immersive sonic textures. Issakidis then transports us to blissful, weightless place on 15-minute closing cut ‘Le Jardin Et Son Jardinier’, a musical out-of-body experience rich in echoing, evolving electronics and opium-strength melodic mo=fs. It’s a stunning conclusion to the first part of Issakidis’s ongoing explora=on of the Kali Yuga.