More info on The Ocean's Upcoming Release "Precambrian"
'Precambrian' is the follow-up to 2005's highly acclaimed 'Aeolian' album. After more than six months of daily work on this immense project, comprising almost 90 minutes of music dispersed over two very distinct and different discs that see the band exploring entirely new musical territories while frequently employing well-tried oceanic elements, it becomes obvious that the outcome is THE OCEAN's musically most advanced and most versatile album to date, combining a raw hardcore-approach with huge orchestrations, subtle electronic textures and immense harmonic density and dynamic width.
The story of the making of this double-album is a chase around the globe. It begins in Northern Finland, where drums and most guitars were tracked, in total isolation, in a remote wooden barn in March 2007; it continues at the band's own Oceanland studios in Berlin, and concludes, after detours to Northern Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Los Angeles and Seattle, where vocal contributions were recorded, on the East Coast of the US, where the album was mixed by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Pelican, Cave In, Made Out of Babies) in New York City, and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Converge, Isis, The Red Chord, Unsane).
On the vocal front, the band's long search for a new full-time vocalist to follow in Meta's footsteps was put to an end with the addition of Mike Pilat, who will move from the UK to Berlin soon to join the band full-time as additional guitarist, percussionist and main vocalist, together with Nico Webers. Mike's qualities as a bass-player could already be witnessed on the band's recent tour supporting THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER all over Europe. His characteristic voice and incredible range of vocal styles are one aspect that really distinguishes this double-album, and it becomes evident that Mike did not just follow in Meta's footsteps, but enabled the band to grow and venture further into unknown and exciting waters.
Apart from that, some old and new guests are appearing on the album, including Caleb Scofield (Cave In, Zozobra, Old Man Gloom), Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders), Dwid Hellion (Integrity), Tomas Hallbom (Breach), Eric Kalsbeek (Textures) and musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Precambrian is a geological term that refers to the first chapter in the evolution of the earth. THE OCEAN's 'Precambrian' is composed of a mini-CD with 22 minutes playing time entitled »Hadean/Archaean«, and a full-length CD with 62 minutes playing time, entitled »Proterozoic«, both referring to successive geological eons within the Precambrian. The songs are divided into 5 subordinate eras, with the song-titles carrying the names of subordinate geological periods.
Apparently, the concept and album artwork of Precambrian evolve around the early days of this planet, when mother earth was a hostile and uninhabitable place reigned by fire, sulfur and streams of red-glowing lava... the earth's heat flow was nearly three times higher than it is today. Liquid water oceans existed despite the surface temperature of 230°C because of the atmospheric pressure of the heavy CO2 atmosphere. While Hadean and Archaean saw the beginning of the formation of the atmosphere, interrupted by events such as the oxygen catastrophe, the earth started to cool down and first simple forms of life sprang up during the Proterozoic.
Logically, THE OCEAN's 'Hadean / Archaean' is brutal, invidious, complex in its arrangements yet simplistic in its instrumentation, and raw and unpolished in sound, continuing where 'Aeolian' left off.
'Proterozoic' is the more tempered of the 2 albums; still erupting frequently and heavily, but at times yielding way to moments of beauty and sublimity in between. Elaborate in its musical ideas and multi-layered due to its massive instrumentation, dramatic in its arrangements and expansive in sound, 'Proterozoic' is an ambitious album of truly epic proportions.
Lyrically, the album was largely influenced by Brazilian-French Proto-Surrealist Lautréamont and his visionary novel 'Chants of Maldoror'. Quotes from the 'Chants' are interspersed throughout the booklets of the 2x-album, and songs like 'Mesoarchaean / Legions of Winged Octopi' and 'Neoarchaean / To Burn the Duck of Doubt', among others, employ lengthy passages from the 'Chants'
The stunning artwork was done by Martin Kvamme again, who is known for his work on all Mike Patton-related projects (Fantomas, Tomahawk, Patton/Kaada) and who also accounts for the 'Aeolian' artwork.
THE OCEAN's Robin Staps comments:
"Please try to absorb this album in its entirety - artwork, lyrics and music is one, and each song only unfurls its full meaning in the context of all other songs and art on the album. Precambrian is our stance against myspace-induced volatileness and transience, against the postmodern notion of music as unseizable data, against a perception of music in terms of how much space it takes up on your hard-drive... it is an album for people who still believe in the idea that an album can be more, and should be more, than the sum of its tracks."
"We're looking back at 10 dark months of being stuck in front of a computer screen, writing, recording and producing this album, which has nearly driven us insane countless times. 26 musicians are actually playing on the album, and Andrew had to rent an additional mixing desk to tackle the ridiculous amount of 84 tracks in a song like "Rhyacian / Untimely Meditations". At this point I am not sure if I ever want to do another record again... but I will probably make up my mind sooner or later. For now, we're looking forward to get the fuck out of our murky basement in order to present this album with an entirely new visual live-concept on our november headlining tour throughout Europe, and a later US tour early next year."
These are events not to be missed, since, more than anything, THE OCEAN is a live-band. With the sequencer being an integral part of the band's performance, controlling not only the samples, but also guitar-effects, stunning live visuals and a MIDI-triggered light-show, flashing in time to the beat of the music, THE OCEAN is a sight to behold. The Lynch-esque play with light and darkness, oftentimes leaving the musicians' faces in the dark, as well as interludes and samples between the songs ensure the continuousity of the imaginary movie that THE OCEAN conjure on stage, and make the listener get lost in the dismal oceanic spheres.
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