ISHQ means “Love” in Persian and Hindi, it is also a word used by such past masters as Rumi to express Love of the divine and the ecstatic Love of the Sufi .
Based amid the idyllic English countryside in Cornwall, the music of ISHQ (Matt Hillier and vocalist Jacqueline Kersley), is hard to put into words. There are elements of classic synth textures, drone and environmental ambience reminiscing classic albums of the ambient pioneer Brian Eno, as well as the early space music of the Berlin-School bands. occasional ambient dance beats and exotic percussion. Better described as harmonic music frequencies encompassing heavenly atmospheres and panoramic soundscapes, ISHQ are considered as one of the globe’s foremost ambient artists. ISHQ’s painstaking sound design gives the music a distinctive clarity, a purity, a sense of place that’s almost hyper-real at times.
Matt Hillier started composing electronic music, merging acid house and ambient in the London club scene of the 90s. The early recordings were all very abstract but the beginning of his work as an Ambient / Soundscape artist. His first release was “Microcosm Macrocosm” in 1996 with Jake Stephenson, under the Alien Mutation vs Indigo Egg moniker.
Since then he has written and released music under many names and projects such as Indigo Egg, Crystal Moon, Bass Meditation, Cyan Dragonfly, Sihq, Ishvara, Elve, Ishqamatics, Izim Izam, and released tracks for various compilations on Spirit Zone, Jumping and Pumping, Nova, Kinetix, Absolute Ambient, Atmo Works, Interchill, Rumour, Proto Tracks, Lobogistic Labs, Dakini, Purple Om, Chill Tribe, Aleph Zero, Celestial Dragon, RMG, TXT, Electronic Soundscapes, Fluid Audio, Relaxed Machinery and Iboga Records.
ISHQ’s three major album releases to date – Orchid, And Awake and Sama – fulfil the transcendent and calming potential that ambient music aims for. “Orchid” on Interchill Records is a remarkable debut and considered as a classic ambient masterpiece by many. The follow-up album “Sama” presents a more consistently landscaped style of ambience and the third album up to date “And Awake” doesn’t really echo either of its predecessors yet remains quite unmistakably ISHQ.
Since 2005 ISHQ, is running “ Virtual”. An independent record label started by ISHQ for the release of more esoteric works and collaborations with others in the field of experimental soundscape and ambient music. Counting an impressive number of releases, Virtual is releasing soundscape ambient and downtempo that pushes the electronic ambient envelope even further not only by ISHQ’s more experimental projects but also from an array of other artists.
One more area that Matt Hillier is pushing his sonic tapestries forward, is via the release of unique high quality sonic impulse libraries. After nearly 25 years of music production he launched Kinetic Sound Prism. An on line store where custom professional high quality impulses, synth patches, sample libraries and packs tailor made for all his releases up to date are available to musicians and sound designers at a very affordable rate.
Brian Eno said once that ambient music is “a music to swim in, to float in, to get lost inside”, describing in a nutshell, ISHQ’s sound. ISHQ’s music is eclectic,instantly recognisable, otherworldly, often undescribable and in essence has a sublime and beautiful quality that both inspires the mind and also the heart in a very rare way.