"Oceans" Release Notes

In honor of today, the official release day for my "Oceans" (iTunes) EP, here are some release notes to accompany the new music!

A few years ago, I released a collection of music called “Yearbook.” That project featured the instrumental songs “Pacific” and “Atlantic.” I knew right away that I wanted to someday come back and complete the “oceans” concept and write three additional pieces of music for the remaining Oceans.

As the idea for my Atlas project came together, I knew it would be the perfect place to complete the collection of instrumental music inspired by each of the Oceans of our world. So in addition to the 28 songs that make up Atlas: Year 1, it felt only fitting to include “Pacific” and “Atlantic” again alongside their newborn Ocean siblings on this new EP.

Fact: Oceans is my very first all-instrumental collection of music! In writing Oceans, I watched endless loops of footage of each of the incredible bodies of water - waves crashing over one another, underwater footage, etc. all of which helped me treat this collection of music as an imaginary score of the oceans. Truly had a blast with that writing/recording mentality!

There was some early debate whether or not to include "Southern" as one of our world's oceans, as it is relatively newly considered an “ocean.” But I chose to honor and recognize this little part of our watery planet! I like to think of "Southern" as "Pluto" in reverse- everyone was opposed the demotion of Pluto from our solar system, whereas everyone seems to be opposing the promotion of the Southern Ocean.

You'll notice that each piece of music on this EP flows into the next, woven together with recordings of the oceans and whale songs (which I recorded myself in Maui last year!). Just as the actual oceans flow into one another, each song on this EP flows into the next as well and forms one body of water-y music!

I tried hard to think of which instrument sounds most like the ocean… I landed on the Piano. So I hereby nominate the Piano as the official instrument of the oceans!! It’s complex, beautiful, striking and calming.

As a massive fan of the ocean, it was such a delight to write these pieces of music. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing and recording them! It was the most meditative experience I’ve ever had in my studio. (I fell asleep more than once while watching loops of ocean video!)

I recommend listening to Oceans alongside, or atop a body of water. Any kind will do- a lake, a pond... or if you're real lucky, the actual ocean!

Song-by-Song Notes:

1. Pacific

Read a detailed blog-post on how this song came to be, here!

2. Atlantic

Read a detailed blog-post on how this song came to be, here!

3. Indian

In the intro of this song, you’ll hear the creaks of an old boat. I loved the idea of this piece of music being the score to some sailing adventure! That was the inspiration behind this one. Adventure.

4. Southern

For the first half of the song, I wrote from the perspective of being underwater. You’ll hear actual submarine sonar pings and muted sounds galore. The second half, I imagined the music finding the surface of the water, becoming clearer as it rises.

5. Arctic

I wrote this one, trying to imagine the coldest temperatures I could. It was fun to try and write a melody inspired by cold. The piano melody that begins the song (and continues throughout) felt like the right amount of serious, slow and nearly frozen. I loved the idea of the Cello (played BEAUTIFULLY by Sharon Gerber) being warmth, that somehow breaks through the ice, splitting the cold in half. The music slowly thaws as the warmth of the cello develops. (Side note: the drums in the end are blended with samples of actual ice breaking and cracking.)

My personal favorite part of the Oceans EP is that at the very tail end of “Arctic,” the final song of Atlas: Year 1, you’ll hear the 16-week old heartbeat of our unborn child, which my wife and I just announced today! Not only did the heartbeat of our future daughter/son feel like a fitting way to end the overarching story told throughout Atlas: Year 1, but it also connects directly to Atlas: Year 2… which will begin with the theme “Life."

Thank you so much for reading these notes and for listening to these songs! Means the world to me!

Much Love, Ryan