‘Oceans.’ the latest solo project from Hobart-based Viva Computer alumnus Jordon Marson, is foremost true to its title. Listeners will find themselves in some beautiful nowhere. By no means a pretty homage to beaches or seafaring sunsets, ‘Oceans’ sets out to explore the abyss with a perfunctory sound that evokes bliss through horror. Rather than the beauty of gull or dolphin cries or wind, ‘Oceans’ takes us to the machine-dominated world of man’s place within the depths.
Marson wastes no time gently submerging us into the deep blue. In his opening track, titled only by its length, “8:33,” the listener is suspended immediately within what feels like a submarine boat in some state of emergency. Weather or not it was the intention of the artist there is little climax. No giant squid attacking after the peak of anxious noise, rather a tragic musical illustration of drowning (or perhaps knowing that we will run out of oxygen before reaching safe land). The passage from one physical place to another is steadily expressed by the music.
The second track, likewise titled by length, “7:35,” is much more peaceful, pensive and melodic than the first. Expecting something more climatic, the listener is brought rather to a strange Zen after the conflict of the first track. Now I feel as though I were turning dials to save my crew. This continuation of the voyage is played out gently, again without a conclusion or climax.
‘Oceans.’ is a kind of cinematic cacophony akin to Iannis Xenakis’ mechanical worlds of sound. Like Xenakis, Marson puts his sounds into a context beyond mere abstract noise. There is no progress, no time in this sound-world, but rather an illustration of the single moment and every moment in the whole. `Oceans.’ delivers as all ambient music aims to by transporting the listener to a realm that is subjective to the composer.
Review by Tony West