It’s not often that an EP opens up with an introduction track these days, but in this case, the value it adds to the music, and the understanding it gives you in your reception of the songs, is huge. The brief but powerful presentation of a voice, describing the nature of the life, the meaning of the ocean and our inevitable return to it – you’re already thinking deeply before you’ve even listened to a full length track.
Let It Burn (Feat. Lizzy) is the song that steps forward following this crucial intro. It’s a beautiful song, a wave of sadness comes with it, but there’s so much more than that. The piano is massively effective in setting the right kind of atmosphere for the lyrics that will follow. The hook is stunning; simple, heart breaking, massively thought provoking. Hugely fitting then that the rap performance which comes next is so unapologetically honest and real. The artist bears his soul and his personality from the very first line, and so you know from the offset that this is not some highly manufactured pop record to be taken lightly. Honesty breeds real art, and that’s what you get, throughout this project.
Musically speaking, the style presented is a gorgeously emotive fusion of trip-hop, rap, and a hugely heartfelt array of singer-song writer storytelling and melodies. I’m The Bad Guy brings in a little more of the hip-hop element, the rap is accompanied by a heavy yet mellow beat, and the performance seems louder now, faster, a little agitated even – the emotion and the passion is consistently clear within the artist’s performances, whatever the nature of the song. This use of appropriate and real response to express the lyrics makes it a thousand times more enthralling; it’s like you’re witnessing these stories live, right there in the moment, as if he has physically delved back into his past and his memories in order to make these songs. It’s chilling, and inescapably captivating.
Jet Lag adds a little bit of a jazz theme to the mix. The music is reminiscent of minimal nineties hip-hop; those feel good vibes you could drive along to with the top down. The vocal is relaxed here, as confident and familiar now as ever, but easy to listen to, really well matched again to the essence of the track surrounding it. Therapy kicks things back into that brutally honest gear. The artist sings the melody himself now, and it’s quite compelling to listen to. The voice remains familiar, whether sung or rapped, and what this does is makes you feel a much bigger connection to the sound and the work of the artist. In a way, it draws your attention to the depth again, the dedication and effort that has gone into making this project a reality – every part will be played, and played well, until the point is effectively made. And it is, repeatedly, yet each time in some new and exciting way. This song sounds great, the music is a little lighter hearted than the subject matter, which is an interesting effect. The more times you listen, the harder it hits, and so it becomes quite addictive.
Then you get to Calling Cape Cod (RIP Tommy) Feat. Amber, a point at which the emotion and the memories are presented in a very literal and undeniable manner. The story is told explicitly, with nothing but the truth, and the real feelings left behind after tragedy. The music has a beautiful simplicity to it, which runs behind the vocal performance with a softness that calms you, yet, more importantly, makes you listen intently and entirely. You hang on every word of this tale, because you know it’s real, and you want to understand these thoughts and feelings as fully as possible. The song serves the purpose of honoring someone important superbly. The music makes you listen, and so you should, and so you will again.
Followed by Different, it’s noticeable around this time in the release that the music has a really vintage ambiance to it. At times it’s reminiscent of the very early albums from Eminem, perhaps even so far as tracks like Rock Bottom – the retro and relaxed yet confident style of the whole thing is greatly appealing. There’s a freshness to this album, but it’s tinted with a very slight shade of nostalgia, and together it makes for something that you’ll feel like you’ve known for years, yet only just discovered today.
Virginia Beach Interlude reintroduces the piano performance, accompanied in the intro by the scattered snippets of a girls voice. The track that follows is musically minimalist for the most part, which, again, makes you focus on the artist’s voice and lyrics even more intensely. This half sung, half rapped track is a real moment of broken down emotion and heartache within the project. It shows a certain softness and vulnerability that was otherwise masked or kept under wraps by the mass influx of lyrics and imagery before now. For these reasons, this one is really well placed within the project. The arrangement of the whole album, in fact, has been thoughtfully constructed so as to always keep you involved and interested.
Title track The Ocean (Feat. Jimi Jones) is the final song of the record, you can listen below. It’s a definite highlight, but not at the loss of any value from elsewhere in the release. It’s simply a really well written and structured piece of music, with flawlessly appropriate and emotional leading vocals, which contrast and collaborate beautifully in this case. The featured sung vocal is so soft and distant, whereas the rap is very present and hyped sounding at times, so you get this massive wave of realness; a feeling that is intensified even more so by the beauty of the music – the riff, the sounds of the ocean, the whole euphoric and blissful ambiance of the art.
Simply put, the song has done everything it needed to do, and the collaboration has added the spark that takes it from great to stunning. You’ll walk away from this album with a great respect for the honesty, and an even greater appreciation for the awe inspiring sound of the music that brings it to life.
The Ocean EP is the fourth full feature album by GiANT, the Artist. It covers personal struggles, such as lost love, grieving the death of his childhood best friend, and trying to find stability. This album is a requiem for his life of the past and welcoming a new path for the future.
Follow GiANT, The Artist on Twitter and Soundcloud.