“They are Cloaked in Stars and Rivers” C35
(Inner Islands)

Inner Islands has put out some pretty stellar tapes in the past half-decade, including a 4 way split with Panabrite, Hakobune, Oliwa and Former Selves that ought to be fetching them high-fives and back-pats for the rest of the 2010’s at least. If you haven’t heard the Hear Hums shit yet, you’re in for a real goddamn treat. The label primarily focuses on ambient/experimental/new-agey stuff, and, for me, sometimes there’s juuuuust a li’l too much techno-ish percussion for my liking, and this particular release almost goes there. Almost.

There’s a good Olympic-sized swimming pool’s worth of space to float in and out of consciousness to here, with slow delay/tremolo heavy ghost riff-age of guitar lines that feel just slightly out of focus behind the sparse, crisp, metronomic hand percussion of a deep conga drum or maybe claves. Is that a cowbell? Train-crossing warning? Some droning synth lines waft in here & there, some airplane-engine-low, some higher, IASOS style, delightfully-cheesy ones, too, to round out the dynamic range.

By the third time through, I really began to dig this album for its potential as a great mood setter. They’ve really perfected the balance of relaxing, mellow swaths of harmonious sound with the maximum groove required for a most subtlest of hip-shakings without reasonably being called too distracting for most workspaces. I’d suggest listening to the whole album in one go, as the charm might not come through with hasty sampling of the tracks.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan