microphones in the trees: matthew barlow / ashan

Sunday, September 18, 2016

matthew barlow / ashan


matthew barlow ~ hatha (inner islands, 2016)

«Just being, without striving. A place of stillness». inner islands

Focusing on sound healing practices, Matt Barlow took a vacation with his renowned Twin Springs Tapes label and started recording more and more music, which takes new turn in unfolding American New Age music. His latest tape for Inner Islands gives you not only the opportunity to relax and get nice background music for 30 minutes but also the possibility of deepest meditation on the nature of music. Combining simple drones with electronic melodies and contemplative flute playing, this tape reflects the idea, which I run through my haed so many times, while listening to some good ambient records - you don't need to be focused, to perceive everything in this flow of aural sensations, but at the same time, staying out any activity in mind and environment you actually start feeling everything so clearly! I think this state cannot be achieved by means of intentional focusing, so this state feels much more natural and I'm always so childishly happy when it happens. Of course, not only music can bring it, nature can too - bird songs, streaming water, whisper of the leaves... And you can actually hear and feel same energies in these two compositions. There is nothing supernatural about it, but still I have no other word than magic.

listen ~ buy tape
 

ashan ~ death is new life (heavy mess, 2016)

 «Sean Conrad (Channelers, Orra, Inner Islands) returns as Ashan with a collection of new songs exploring where the physical meets the spiritual and how the two influence and dialogue each other». heavy mess

For the new label run by Braeyden Jae (former boss of Inner Islands label), Sean Conrad (current Inner Islands mastermind) put an exclusive recording which brings to light new facet of his Ashan alias. Usually taking place somewhere far from city hum and electricity circuits, Ashan (almost) always was about instrumental psych-new-age jams, self-invented mantra singing and celebration of simple joys of life – this time Sean takes electric guitar, some distortion and drums, blending the rock music benefits with Ashan's usual sound. You already curious how it sounds? Okay, just hit play on Bandcamp and read further. And I'll continue playing this on repeat, each time wondering how same energy can take so many forms. This is obviously same Ashan I used to and behind all those walls of sounds, electronic drones, krautrock beats and psychedelic solos I hear same magic, that once entered this complicate world with "To Return To" album. Folk music can take many forms and I suppose that there is nothing hard for experienced artist as Mr. Conrad to transform his music into powerful rock outfit without losing primary inspiration. Actually this is fun synchronism between to friends putting softest side of Braeyden Jae's music at Inner Islands and heavier side of Ashan on Heavy Mess. Consider this as "anti-unplugged" album and simply enjoy it!

listen ~ buy tape

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