Ocean On Ocean
(2010, Debacle Records)
RIYL = Goslings, Grouper, Beach House
When you place one ocean on top of another ocean (using a torrent of cranes and a large canvas tarp), you are bound to experience, in the aftermath, one of two possible outcomes. The first is that the topmost block of ocean will, once released from the tarp onto the bottommost block of ocean (an action accomplished by inserting a pocket knife into the middle of the weight-bearing tarp), sink uniformly in a slow, steady fashion, falling through inch by inch, allowing sufficient time for the coastal cities surrounding the ocean-on-ocean convergence to slowly deconstruct, move and reconstruct their businesses and homes at a further distance. All of this completed (ideally) during an orange-red sunset and the deafening rush of ocean-on-ocean chatter and assimilation. The second possibility is that, upon the release of the topmost ocean (by the knife-in-tarp method), time will screw up and process in a contorted state. The contortion is glitchy, but most often finds space in a slow-motion trap that brings beauty and perspective to what is, inevitably, a full sinking flood: the topmost ocean being rejected by the bottommost ocean and thereby crashing outward onto property previously described as “dry land” or “inhabitable.” The second possibility, in its twilight stages, offers a submerged purr in the ears and the view of thousands of objects, furniture, pets, vehicles, toys, human bodies, bobbing unmanageably amidst the salty waters as they stretch skyward. These variables are listed audibly by the Portland duo Slaves (Barbra Kinzle and Birch Cooper) on their debut album, Ocean On Ocean. Consider it a precursor.