itso – “Virtual Reality”

Recording remotely in two different countries, and relying on the pure organic sounds of guitars, drums, bass and vocals, Scobie Ryder (ex-Hellfire Club frontman and Gold Awarded songwriter/producer), and Martin Hanisch (a top German session guitarist/writer and producer) are driving their duo rock project itso through a 24-track 24-month ‘fresh retro’ sonic challenge. They are currently on month 5, and perfectly on cue, are dropping their 5th single in a row, entitled “Virtual Reality”, on all platforms on the 1st of December. The duo’s biggest selling point over the course of their release schedule has been their ability to churn thorough variations of their own soundscapes with an unapologetic ease. Not only does every single sound like an extension of the musical masterminds behind them, but each respective song has its own sense of individuality.

“Virtual Reality” identifies with a band continually moving forwards within their field. itso have always maintained a comparative classic rock and alt-rock feel, while crafting fresh sounding compositions.

While remaining true to their natural tendencies, their vocal contributions, and instrumental cornerstones drive the melodies through the roar of thick sonic reverberations as a hurricane of liberating engineering and production wizardry pushes the listener through itso’s storied chapters. Such is the case with “Virtual Reality”

“Tell me what you feel, and I’ll show you why it isn’t real. Virtual reality has got a very special appeal. Everything around you sparkles like diamonds and steel. Virtual reality, you know nothing is real,” sings Scobie Ryder, his gravelly voice sitting on top of a musical framework that has become as much about intensity, as it is about mood and context. Which in this setting takes a deep and hard look at the current circumstances we are living in, and it’s a pretty awkward situation, to say the least.

More importantly, on “Virtual Reality”, itso provide a sense of journey – whether that’s the foreboding atmosphere or the expectation of more like this to come, the music provides a compelling reason to stay, and hit replay.

Though the song continues to entrance through gleaming musicianship, and impacting instrumentation, it allows the contextual weight of the narrative to come to the fore. The vocal motifs effortlessly snare the ear while the song’s guitar solo blossoms and bursts, with color and vigor.

If there was any reason to question just where itso put their feelings and thoughts, this track lyrically outlines just how unyielding their focus is on the human condition. Typically, “Virtual Reality” sounds ‘classically’ itso, leaning heavily into the duo’s melodic songwriting chops, without forgetting their bent for crushing riff surges, sweeping harmonies, and unrelenting rhythmic passages. Rather than over-compress the track’s larger sound, the crystal-like clarity in the mixing offers an organic freedom that allows “Virtual Insanity” to soar in liberty.

With so many callbacks to itso’s most positive, performing and production elements, over the course of their previous releases, it’s little to no wonder as to why the latest offering, “Virtual Insanity” from Scobie Ryder and Martin Hanisch is such a worthy gem.


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