Tabs Out | New Batch – Inner Islands

New Batch – Inner Islands
8.17.18 by Ryan Masteller

Hear the song that wrote itself. The one that emerged organically, fully formed from the oxygen in the depths of a human lung, from the carbon exhalations gobbled up by plants on their continuing path of photosynthesis. It is all around and in the air and the water, in the matter that comprises our flesh and our blood and our bone. Hear the song that wrote itself, life on the wind, in the currents of the ocean, in the core of the sun.

The song that wrote itself has a name: “Dream Warriors.”

Just kidding! Had you going there. But it’s not a joke when it comes to Inner Islands, the Oakland label run by Sean Conrad, who believes in natural healing through sound and discovering the center of the self within artistic practice. So you’d be dang right if you expect this to be meditative stuff, New Age all the way, lovely gossamer threads of twinkling sound that slowly drift over the mind and cocoon it against the outside world as it seeks to discover the, ahem, “inner islands” of identity.

Ashan is Conrad himself, and “Far Drift Afield” will do exactly what its title promises, escort your spirit to a faraway place and allow you to embark on “an unguided tour of imagined landscapes” where songs write themselves, sound spontaneously emerges as if it were created from nothing. It’s a beautiful idea, and my imagined landscapes are probably pretty similar to yours, all sunshine and fluffy clouds, endless fields, cool breezes, trickling streams. Unless your idea of serenity is the center of a volcano. If that’s the case, I don’t know how to help you. Your copy of “Far Drift Afield” would melt in there.

Not to be outdone in the inner-landscape-conjuring game, Kenji Kihara of Horiuchi, Japan, drops “Scenes of Scapes,” which is less of a title and more a modus operandi of Inner Islands itself. Kihara follows Conrad in whipping up amazing places in my mind where I can find peace. The serenity of summer, both the beginning and the end of it, the depth of an afternoon sky, sunbeams warming the flower-covered meadows, the Milky Way visible in an unpolluted night sky, the glow of life within myself. Kihara hears the same song that Conrad does and interlocks with it in dense and heavy harmony. Feel the life force flowing through “Scenes of Scapes.”

Both tapes come in editions of 100, and both have absolutely ace j-card art, created by Sean Conrad himself. Gorgeous stuff. These tapes are worth getting just to look at them.

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