Channelers: Faces of Love
Inner Islands

Inner Islands' latest release exemplifies the Oakland, California label's aesthetic in perfect manner—and so it should, considering that it's the latest offering from label manager Sean Conrad operating under the Channelers guise. The cassette presents two deep meditations that are each nineteen minutes long but theoretically could carry on for any amount of time; in their creator's words, the pieces “are static in their mood and atmosphere, but could wander infinitely.”

Recorded, appropriately enough, at Gentle Sound, the two share certain similarities but also fundamentally differ in one key respect: the A-side's “Always Been” overlays a becalmed drone fashioned from harmonium and bowed bass with the resonant pluck of a dulcimer; side B replaces the latter with acoustic piano and in so doing, whether intentionally or not, makes “Pressure Sigh” play like a modern-day homage to the opening piece on Eno's Music For Airports, especially when the reverberant piano playing is tinted throughout by the soft murmur of a Juno-60 synthesizer. The to-and-fro between the two elements makes for a lovely conversation-styled effect, and the occasional subtle punctuation of percussion adds a shimmer to the presentation that feels wholly fitting.

No slight is intended against the material or its creator in saying one could imagine Faces of Love deployed as low-volume accompaniment to a yoga or meditation session; certainly one imagines Conrad wouldn't take it as a slight when he himself pronounces, “The rhythm of the sound follows the rhythm of the body and the pace of the breath.” There's a serenity to its sides that makes it all the more appealing, not to mention eminently welcome in this age of anxiety.

August 2017