Tabs Out | New Batch – Inner Islands

New Batch – Inner Islands

9.18.19 by Ryan Masteller

Not only do we have two new tapes out on Inner Islands, the illustrious New Age label out of Oakland, but one of them is by head honcho Sean Conrad himself! The other is by non-head-honcho Steve Targo (Inner Travels), but we won’t hold that against him. Still – the stakes are pretty high when you’re leading the way with your own work. Let’s hope that confidence is warranted!


Haha, of course it is. You think I’d even be writing this if it wasn’t? Ashan follows up last year’s “Far Drift Afield” with “Transfigurations,” “another set of unguided excursions to proposed realms of being.” Right on, Sean: listening to Ashan is like drifting down a river in a tropical rainforest, but without fear that everything around you in your environment is going to kill you (snakes, insects, plants, piranhas). In fact, you could drift right on down and out of the river’s mouth and into the great beyond, the river actually being a metaphorical one and the destination a transformation of your spirit into something stronger and better and more whole, and the destination not even being a destination but just a marker on a map that keeps extending toward infinity. That’s what “Transfigurations” is all about: continuously rejecting the outward stimuli that cause harm (pain, discomfort, sadness, anger) and metamorphosing the feelings those things cause into an inner strength, an inner fortress for your, ahem, inner island. Or something like that! Still, Conrad’s work as Ashan has always made me feel light and warm and free, and “Transfigurations” is no different in that regard.


Talk about “drifting down a river in a tropical rainforest,” as “Babble,” the first of three extended tracks on “Nature Spirit,” opens with Steve Targo’s nature recordings, placing the listener directly in the same space as the source material. I’m out there, out in it, in nature, in “Nature Spirit,” allowing my surroundings to overwhelm me with their intense life. That’s where Targo gets his inspiration from for this release, and boy does it come through perfectly. The rain falls upon my head and the lights of my mind twinkle behind my eyelids as I breathe deeply the rich air. “Nature Spirit” is a continuously growing presence, a palpable entity governing the wind and the rain and the wildlife. It delivers us into a state of being similar to that of Ashan’s “Transfigurations,” a state of communion with the world around us and within ourselves. Doesn’t that just sound like a perfect Inner Islands release? And not just because “Inner Islands” and “Inner Travels” are so close in construction. Everybody’s a vet of the scene here, an all-star-caliber New Age/ambient hero.

Buy together in the Summer Cassettes bundle from Inner Islands if you wish! You’ll save a couple bones, and you know how we’re always telling you tape consumers to be thrifty with your purchases.

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