“Space Makes Clearing”
(Inner Islands)

You guys, I’m not … I’m not kidding. I like Channelers, I really do. Inner Islands label-head Sean Conrad’s go-to moniker for all things beatific, Channelers always unfolds in new and exciting ways. Essex did our heads in with synthy aqua swells, and Arden Tapes, while not actually being tapes, turned inward with acoustic guitar passages. But Space Makes Clearing might be the one – it might actually be the one to break your brain and send it on a permanent astral trip. If not that, then it’s at least going to be the morphine in your drip, the feel-good pulse every time you hit that button from your hospital bed. Or at least that’s how it seems – you don’t have to be incapacitated or injured or something to convalesce. Conrad knows that – that’s why his tunes are the balm for what ails you, never mind how serious your ailment or incapacitated you may feel. I write this at 9:17pm on November 8, 2016, and I’ve got a deep dissatisfaction in my soul. By the time you read this, you’ll be a step ahead of me in understanding the direction our world, but right now I’ve got the uncertainty blues, and Space Makes Clearing is the one thing that’s propping my spirits in an upright direction at the moment. Guitars, synthesizers – other instruments? Probably – combine for maximum peace-ing out, and arpeggios shimmer like stars and souls and trickle like rivulets and life force into a vast expanse. I mean, he’s got a track called “Praise for Life in All Its Forms,” for crying out loud! “Your Spell Is on the Wind” might as well be called that, or the utterly fantastic “Clear Guidance Golden Chords” – check that, “Clear Guidance” is absolutely perfectly titled in its harp-y, angelic goodness. But still, take Sean Conrad’s entire body of work – Channelers, Ashan, Orra, Inner Islands, whatever else – and apply “Praise for Life in All Its Forms” to it. Why don’t the vast majority of other people follow this particular track? It’s a travesty, I tell you. I’m seriously considering making a loop of Space Makes Clearing and pumping it through my speakers all day, at various volumes depending on how closely I want to pay attention. I have a feeling it will be very close, most of the time. Backing off the trepidation now – I’ve got good vibes all day long with this thing. Who cares who wins this election at the moment (but really, you should absolutely care, I’m just editorializing), there’s so much to look forward to. Channelers just happens to be the perfect musical accompaniment for self-actualization.

--Ryan Masteller