Published Jul 31, 2018Ashan is one of the many musical masks worn by Inner Islands label head Sean Conrad, whose oeuvre takes many forms, but is closely aligned with modern ambient and new age. The artist has described his body of work as composed of spiritual, physical and emotional elements. Ashan is his dialogue of the physical and spiritual components with his audience; the compositions are usually set up to travel from one location to another, with defined paths and definitive strategies for their individual voyages.
With Far Drift Afield, Conrad flips the script and allows his musical ideas to manifest outside of a compositional framework. Billed as "an unguided tour of imagined landscapes," the cassette — made up of five quite lengthy meditations — finds Conrad assembling a host of sounds into lush, somnolent dreamscapes that stretch toward a hazy, nearly non-existent horizon.
Piano, flute, stringed instruments, synthesizers, field recordings, chimes and other elements are "set free to do what they will and go where they will go." The resultant songs are imbued with a spirit of discovery that is redolent of the more evocative works in the modern new age canon.
The entire series of audio landscapes presented on Far Drift Afield is awash in a grace that is both mysterious and comfortably familiar. Somehow, Conrad has managed to evoke the essence of lazy, half-awake moments experienced on imagined planets light years from our own. The terrestrial origin of these cosmic compositions is masked by their strange beauty. (Inner Islands)