Review of Ocean Fire [12k1046]

Other Music (US)

This CD arrived the day of our deadline for update reviews and I was the one who was “drafted” to write it up; but I’ve got to admit, it’s nice to be forcefed something as pleasant as Ocean Fire. “Dedicated to the preservation of our fragile oceans…”, the album has the sound palette of many processed guitar/instrument records. But where most releases of this type just tend to move “up” and then “out”, Willits and Sakamoto do a fine job of mimicking the cross-currents of the water with schools of fish suddenly changing direction in unison. In other words, the sound moves in multiple directions, but quite naturally and in a way that is pleasantly calming. Familiarity is expressed while mystery is maintained. We reach a more peaceful, buoyant moment, perhaps above water judging from the very distant foghorn in “Sea Plains.” Track two, “Umi,” sounds great, but it ends abruptly, giving me the suspicion that someone might have stepped on the power strip while they were recording. Ocean Fire is definitely for fans of Fennesz, but the distinction is that while its movement is still dynamic, there’s a slightly less “physical” quality to the sound in order to bring a more placid feeling. Each track expresses both the grandness of the ocean and some intimate space within it. Ever wish you could breathe under water? [SM]

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