A lot of people, from the average to the more unusual New Zealander, would never have heard of, imagined or ever encountered the obscure ‘music’ that finds it’s home under the umbrellas of the Ambient, Post-Rock genres. To save you the Wikipedia search “Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.” It is the psychedelic drug of the music world; it takes you on trips to foreign environments filled with wonders only your imagination could conjure and in answer to your most inquisitive question, yes, you will like it when you try it. The hipsters amongst us may have already dabbled, dipped their toe, so to speak, and downloaded and illegal copy of Lustmord’s [ O T H E R ], featuring Adam Jones from Tool (and for that reason alone) but then of course never actually listened to it. I can safely say SeaBed by ex-pat Kiwi Craig Johnson, who is also known for his work on the music.net.nz site, is nothing like the dark textures of Lustmord but is certainly on the same level in regards to the richness of the vivid environments created across the three tracks.
Such a unique unusual genre requires an unusual and unique review, something spontaneous and flowing like the material, so as we listen I shall narrate. Enjoy the trip.
“I dare you to stand with toes dipped in water, sand sifting between then and on the horizon focus. The water’s rising, lapping over you, caressing your ankles. Your knees. Your waist. Just relax and let the music wash over you, flow around you, and seep through you. Feel the oceans rise around you as you become submerged beneath the sine waves and start to sink deeper into the sea of sound. Soon you are like a sail boat, a rubber tire, floating half-submerged and knowing and feeling that there is an unimaginably vast seething mass flowing beneath you, holding you buoyant and at the same time threatening to engulf you. Then listen to SeaBed. It’s a lot quieter. You’re on the bottom of the ocean now, or at least getting closer to it. There’s life down here, mysteries, and a feeling of calm. There’s so much pressure but you feel weightless, insignificant and most of all awe-struck at the mysterious beauty of the Sea bed. The panic shouldn’t start to rise until the 06:40 mark, but know there is nothing to fear down here. Not until the Actuality of Seeing. Was that a cackle? Tension builds and cacophonous harmonies rend the peace to uncertainty. The same tranquil waters show a whole other side. A darker side. The Bermuda Triangle is a stretch of ocean. A plain of downed ships and aircraft would not be out of place here. The remains of Amelia Earhart. You could panic, you could try to escape, but the erotic beauty, the sexuality of being held suspended at the mercy of the dominating swollen entity holds you captivated and submissive. You’re rising now, the light of the cloudy Icelandic day is penetrating thru the trillions of litre’s of water standing between you and oxygen, albeit distorted light, holding no warmth. You’re not cold any longer tho. You’ve become accustomed to the freezing temperatures beneath these waves. You’re feeling torn between both worlds now. There is a happiness to be home, but there is a sadness that you are leaving what feels like your new home. As your head breaks out from beneath the throbbing mid-ocean waves you are left with a heaviness and a choice; to swim for the shore or return to the depths from whence you have just came.”
Inspired by the ocean, island horizons, and the space of the ocean depths, SeaBed looks to contrast the calm of the ocean and its simultaneous ferocity, through an evolving, pulsating wall of sound. SeaBed is the current project of New Zealand born artist and designer Craig Johnson. He is currently based in Reykjavík and Berlin.
SeaBed is available for free download from bandcamp (below).