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SLAVES, THE - Ocean on Ocean

Format: do-LP
Label & Cat.Number: Helen Scarsdale HMS 023
Release Year: 2012
Note: duo from Portland (OR) who could be located somewhere between shoegaze and drone-doom => a shimmering, waving darkness based on slow moving repetitive harmonies created with organ-like synths, distortion guitars, and female voice... very lush, narcotic, ethereal, without any beats... has been set stylistically somewhere between GROUPER, SLOWDIVE, EARTH and BARN OWL.... we also had to think of LOVESLIESCRUSHING; lim. 400
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €22.50

More Info

"The mystical drone-folklorist Jon Porras introduced us to the luminous sound of The Slaves, so we thought it fitting that he should expound upon their radiant shoegazing heaviness. Here speaks Mr. Porras:

"A shadow moves beneath the water. Ocean On Ocean: two abysmal surfaces echoing into one another. Mutually reflecting an endless geologic score to a post-apocalyptic litany. Planes of ambivalence obliterated by light, voices eclipsed by devotional low end, synthesized stereography spiraling from an eternal core. Hovering above the weighted disposition of Doom and below the consolation of Shoegaze, the duo transmit a burdened grace that unfolds like a radiant mammal writhing in black water. We discover an object heavy and obtuse until placed into the sea. Lines of light swell and dissipate behind hushed lyrics. Feedback and whitenoise ebb and flow, the mammal's breath hollowed, tumbling below the surface. The hum offset and displaced by water that surrounds. Holographic accord materialized by invalidated hopefulness. We are unsure and skeptical of what this optimism holds. What lies waiting at the depths carved between these two reflective surfaces? Ocean On Ocean implies a tangible province exists between these mirrored planes. A staircase built from reflective feedback, extending horizontally into bliss. A bliss that is fleeting and simultaneously petrified in the present. A paradox realized by the duo's distillations of urgent ambiance and luminescent melancholy. Conjuring environments that billow out from instrumental restraint, Ocean On Ocean is an exercise in disciplined abstraction.
Initially a cd-r, Ocean On Ocean reaches its supreme possibility today. An acoustic artifact cast into alchemical tangibility, these recordings are finally at peace on vinyl. Now the relics hidden between these Oceans can be crystallized."

The Slaves are Barbara Kinzle and Birch Cooper, who hail from Portland, Oregon and who have released other works on Digitalis and Paradigms to considerable acclaim, drawing favorable comparisons to the likes of Grouper, Slowdive, Earth, and Barn Owl. The 2LP of Ocean On Ocean is limited to 400 copies, and the recordings were mastered for vinyl by James Plotkin." [label info]


"Fuck, yeah! Here, we have the double lp reissue of the aQuarius favorite Ocean On Ocean by The Slaves, the Portland duo of Birch Cooper and Barbara Kinzle. We got the cd-r of this album back in early 2011, upon the enthusiastic request from the former aQ-staffer Jon Porras, known to some as one half of of drone-doom duo Barn Owl. The rough sound of the cd-r has been considerably improved via remastering by James Plotkin, with the vinyl cut at 45 rpm so that all the heavy / dreamy / shoegazy loveliness is even richer and more radiant. Still one of our favorite albums, made even better!
We love bands whose music-making formula appears, on the surface, simple and intuitive, yet the sounds they create are huge, engulfing and seemingly complex. Using two synthesizers and echoing vocals, The Slaves inhabit a sound that is as lush and dense as it is mysterious and minimal. Their debut album, Ocean on Ocean, is the perfect showcase of a group that can conjure up bountiful sounds within a restrained approach. Honestly, we cant get enough of Ocean on Ocean, something about those enormous, dreamy, engulfing songscapes just leaves us wanting more. Their oozing brew of minimal pop melts and blurs with the melodic thickness of MBV's Loveless or early Slowdive, but surrenders to a contemplative mode that falls somewhere between Gregorian hymn and pagan ritual. The duo spin a radiant web of sustained vocals and heavy synth, each chord drawn out and smeared into a neon haze while indecipherable lyrics suggest longing, loss and submission to oblivion.
"Seventeen" unfolds with a slow arching chord progression that grows and dissipates like a coastal tide. Female vocals creep into the oceanic haze while fluttering noise and cosmic wash hover in obscurity. And though the rhythm-less wash may appear to be aimless improv, a close listen reveals a defined structure beneath the veil of long tones and heavy atmospherics. And yes, The Slaves are heavy. And it's not a "down-tuned guitars through a wall of amps" kind of heavy. Its more evident in the slow movement of the songs, and the visceral effects felt by each musical gesture. The duo have perfectly crafted a searing offering of "soft doom", so gorgeous and mesmerizing weve had Ocean on Ocean on repeat for the past week. "Shadows" is another noteworthy track. We love the push and pull of heavy synth and whispery vocals, whirls of female voice echo into the night then dissipate into huge swells of HEAVY distorted synth. Crumbling low end amid ethereal dream chants, what else could we ask for?? One of our favorite records in recent memory and highly recommended!" [Aquarius Records]