(Inner Islands, 2015)
Michael Henning’s Selaroda project’s got the reverent meditative thing down. In fact, it’s so down, it’s practically its own spacetime continuum, dictating our dimensional space and our timelines. At least it did that for me for its thirty-five-minute runtime. I ended up playing it a couple more times, mainly because I got stuck in a wormhole and needed something to listen to while space and time condensed around me. On the other side, I couldn’t figure out why I was surrounded by the alien equivalent of ancient Egypt all of a sudden. Then I realized that was sort of the plot to Stargate, opened my eyes, and found myself in my own home. I, uh, … don’t really want to talk about that anymore.
But whatever, because Selaroda’s latest tape on Inner Islands, viaje a través de sonidos transportative (or journey through sounds transportation, thank you very much, Google Translate, for a title that makes very little sense, but I love you anyway, you’re all I’ve got), can be enjoyed in the comfort of your comfiest chair, or piped through the comm system of your spacecraft as you hurtle toward the outer reaches of the solar system. Doesn’t matter. Let yourself float through the aether of your own mind or gain a little bit of extra tranquility in those moments in the airlock, it’s all the same. Selaroda functions as constant aural doses of dopamine, washing over the pleasure centers of your brain and calming you in the precise moments of necessity.
All of this is part of the plan. Henning himself has dubbed this record “journey music: to faraway lands, higher states, and alternate dimensions.” Don’t believe me? Let the compositions be your guide. Opener “sametist kardinad kosmoses” (“velvet curtain in space”) is a transcendent Kosmische overture, and at three minutes perfectly encapsulates the Selaroda aesthetic of meditative but not staid. The hilariously titled track 2 is an outlier – “mgeni ngoma safari mduara chama” (“alien dance party circle trip”) is neither a party nor particularly alien, but it does feature some nifty percussion, a nice departure, more Ak’chamel than Cluster, but hey, if you wanna make an omelet, etc.
The album is sequenced with two shorter tracks at the beginning of each side, followed by a much longer one that ends it. The two shorter tracks on side B continue in an exploratory vein as those on side A. Believe it or not, “atrium garden periscope, gliese 581d” doesn’t even need translation! It begins innocently enough with an Eastern influence in its timbre, but it sort of gets heavy, introspective by the end. Apparently “santur solo from tau ceti f, circa 1929” also needs no translation, but you could’ve fooled me.
It’s the two longer tracks that really draw me in, though, and that’s where Selaroda’s money is – his mouth. (Wait. Is that right?) The eleven-minute trip of “phonons et phenomes, à l’infini éternelle” (“phonons and phenomena, the eternal infinite”) moves in and out of different levels of tone and consciousness, drawing the listener ever further toward the center of what Michael Henning’s envisioning here. Likewise “ondas de reflexão interior” (“inner reflection waves”), which is twelve and a half minutes of sending us on our way to the next realm. That’s exactly what I needed at the end of this tape.
Once again, Inner Islands drops a killer tape. Selaroda’s aces in my book. Who knows where the two are going to take us next?
RIYL: Xu, Miguel Isaza, Millions, Cryptosystem I