The song— which takes a bow to bands like Radiohead and Mogwai— appears on their album Holocene, incoming May 19th.
Photo Credit: Geoffrey Wallang.Watch the video directed by Lo! (AUS) visionary Adrian Shapiro.
Holocene’s latest single— “Sea of Reeds”— features intricate time signatures and uses biblical metaphors to carry a critical message. Engrossing brass arrangements and the sound of an old 70s’ vibraphone build towards the vocal hookline of the album.
The Ocean’s Robin Staps laments of the song, “Like many Ocean lyrics, this song was inspired by the bible, the old testament tale of Exodus. God divided the waters of the Red Sea, the Sea of Reeds, so that the Israelites could flee from the Egyptians, and he clogged the wheels of their persecutors’ chariots and then drowned them in the sea.” He continues, “The Old Testament is full of tales of miraculous healing, water turned into blood, locusts falling from the sky, the parting of the sea… but can there be space for the concept of love in a doctrine that relies on supernatural powers to prove its god’s almightiness? A god who parts the waters of the sea to decide who’s going to live and who’s going to die is a fearful entity, and the lesson to be learnt from Exodus is that you should worship a god with such immense powers because otherwise he’s gonna f*ck with you real bad. But a god who needs miracles to convince his sheep to admire him and to follow his leadership can only be a vain god, and in vanity lies weakness and vulnerability, even for a god… because the vain self depends on the admiration of others. And this is the important note for the level of human relationships — dependency.”
“We often look up to our loved ones as deities and we conceive of love as a supernatural force itself, something that hits us out of the blue and transforms us and the world around us. But when you remove the supernatural color grading, love is essentially a choice. It’s a voluntary decision to let yourself in for something (and sometimes even to push yourself into something), or not. It’s not something that happens to you if you’re lucky, or doesn’t if you’re not. It essentially relies on meeting someone at eye level and while it can involve worship to some degree, too much of it is going to create a hierarchy that is going to ruin it,” says Staps.
Director Adrian Shapiro says, “Robin and I have spoken for years about me directing a clip for The Ocean, and finally the stars aligned and we could make this happen.We went through a couple of different tracks before finally settling on ‘Sea Of Reeds.’ I’ve only really directed music videos for my own band,Lo!, so there was a bit of pressure to make sure this clip was at the level I was happy with for The Ocean, and also did justice for the song.”
Shapiro continues, “There was a lot of listening to the song on repeat, and finally I saw the journey I wanted to create for the clip… ‘Sea of Reeds‘ is a beautiful, haunting track. It’s powerful and melancholy and I loved the idea of using different textural materials to create a world of hills and mountains before delivering a final reveal of what we’ve been heading towards for the clip. The process with this clip was all in the setup as we used a motion control robot to create a repeatable move for the camera. This allowed me to make subtle tweak to the props and materials without effecting the camera moves. Once I had all the movement and materials all sorted, We shot the clip relatively quickly as we had everything locked.” Concluding, “I wanted it to be entrancing, and quite an anxious piece to watch not knowing where it was all heading. It’s one of my favourite clips I’ve made and I hope you all enjoy the journey.”
Across their vast discography The Ocean have been on a continuous crusade against close-mindedness, ignorance and intellectual obstinacy, from the distinct anti-Christian sentiment of their -centric records through the psychological, Tarkovsky-inspired contemplations on Pelagial to exploring Nietzsche’s ideas of amor fati and Eternal Recurrence on the Phanerozoic albums.
On Holocene, The Oceancontinue their strife, tackling subjects like the morbid grand-scheme social quest for eternal youth (“Parabiosis”) or how our current day’s instagram-society is epitomizing Guy Debord’s visionary socio-economical analysis in the “Society of the Spectacle” (“Preboreal”). The booklet of the album is indeed peppered with quotes by Debord and Raoul Vaneigem. Debord was a founding member of The Situationist Internationale, a French protest movement made up of avant-garde artists and political theorists that sought to create ‘situations’—moments in which the monotony of everyday capitalist routine was disrupted without having to buy commodities. They wanted to encourage people to find moments of truth and real experience among the all-pervasive consumerist lie. For more than two decades, Berlin’s The Ocean have been churning out stellar releases between progressive / post metal and heavy rock. Their upcoming tenth studio album Holocene sees the band add a closing chapter to their paleontology-inspired album series, presenting a gear shift towards the electronic world while reaching new depths of heaviness at the same time.
Holocenewill be released on physical and digital formats on May 19th via Pelagic Records. Pre-order the album here.