There must be something about the little island down south of our borders, they’re having an electronic renaissance as of late while we are still bro-ing off. JUICE first heard of Oceans when he dropped a beat prior to Samiyam’s set at Home Club, Singapore, as part of Syndicate SG’s Beat Invitational and immediately took a liking to his brand of broody cinematic electronica.
Real name Harlim Abd K, Oceans’ choice of pseudonym makes sense musically. Leaning towards the garage side of electronica, Oceans’ music is like its namesake; serene, scary, and sombre, sometimes all three at the same time. Big on odd time signatures, breathy muffled feminine vocals drowned in underwater reverb (think Emika) and vocal sample manipulations, his music is indubitably influenced by the likes of Telefon Tel Aviv, Amon Tobin and Burial.
Being artistically-inclined, Oceans isn’t just informed by the film score-worthy music of his likeminded popular peers. Citing Pan’s Labyrinth as one of the films that influenced him, Oceans has always wanted to compose for films. He’s just as affected by movies as he is by music, which would explain why his music is visual. “I secretly think that the sounds that I’ve been wanting to portray are usually the sounds that are visually expressive – somewhat like a whale song,” he says, somewhat obliquely.
His cinematic and ambient approach to music making is strung out by grief, so much so that his planned future release is based on the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The decidedly morose approach of his music is clearly a personal expression, Oceans, ever so morbid, says “Please do check it out if you’d like to kill yourself or have any future plans to do so.” Out of those 5 states of grief, 3 have been released for public consumption on Soundcloud. Tentatively though, the release could be a full LP consisting of 8 to 10 tracks. While he hasn’t confirmed a date yet, it would definitely see the light of day this year.
Oceans isn’t all about music, he’s heavily involved in photography and plans to dabble in visual arts soon. A fan of Chris Cunningham, whose works are said to be the perfect combination of audio and visual, it doesn’t surprise that such a visually expressive audio-maker sees him as a hero.
There’s something about the atmosphere of his music. It could be the oddly timed drums that make you lose the idea of conditioned time, it could be the ghostly chopped and sampled vocals that feel like they lack concrete presence, it could be the way he composes that pushes your imagination over the Lovecraftian precipice, we’re not sure ourselves, but the sound of Oceans is an endless wave of emotions you rather not entertain. Not that we would complain when we slit our wrist to his music though.
Traverse the endless oceans here.