20000 leagues under the sea

Review: I Could Float Here Forever – Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea , Appendix A

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20000 leagues under the seaA new release by Dutch based I Could Float Here Forever, inspired by the story of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. More than 30 instruments were used during production, that resulted in 11 soothing tracks that truly fit the story that’s used as a template. Review inside!

I Could Float Here Forever is a band that’s on my radar a couple of years now. The first time I met these guys, it was a nice little gig in the Little Devil Bar, Tilburg. Original, slightly quirky music due to it’s unexpected rhythms with a whole spectrum of sounds. A nice get-to-know- base was formed. Last year, they released their first full EP release Chrysalis which is a cool album with more coherent rhythms while still using a lot of soundbites (love the 8-bit soundscapes!). This album showed the potential of this band. Now, almost a year later, there’s this new, coherent album with the atmosphere of a grand sea-voyage with accompanying tunes. Ship up, mate!

Warning: this isn’t a postrock album with build-ups and the inevitable shredding guitars. This is a delicate piece of work that beautifully captures a magic atmosphere that deserves a full listening-experience. Yes, there are eleven tracks, but it’s meant to be enjoyed as a full album. Yes, it’s linked to a story but it’s perfectly suited to listen to without this story. However: if you look closely to the awesome artwork and truly read the small stories that accompany the tracks, you’ll get a deeper understanding for the music and have a better emotional connection to this album. It reminds me a bit of the iLiKETRAiNS release – The Christmas Tree ship. A beautiful album that also has one big, coherent theme.

This album start with opener A Shifting Reef, relaxing sounds with delicate guitars and the always present slightly distorted waves of the ocean, sucking you in its mood. At around 5 minutes, there’s a slight shift in tone and some industrial sounds appear to accompany the excitement of the voyage in the story and for you, as a listener.
Setting sail for the pacific is hypnotic with it’s prominent guitar-plucking tune, the soft piano on the backgrounds and the constant synth flow that eases your mind.

A Phosphorescent Light is another delicate track with the sound of waves and wind. You almost feel the breeze and the drops of water. For the curious minded people: an uplifting guitar-loop tunes in and makes you wonder what peaked the curiosity of the travelers? After a while, the atmosphere turns a bit unnerving and the fourth track, An Unknowns Species of Whale creeps in. A mysterious atmosphere with bells, whale-sounds and heavy ambient soundscapes. The crew went overboard and linger in “Limbo”. It sets the stage for the big highlight of this album, the fantastic fifth track Aboard the Nautilus. At around the 1:45 minutes mark there’s a different tone with some heavier piano sounds, great loops and awe-inspiring highrise notes that deserves to be listened LOUD! it’s a beautiful, uplifting high-point of this album and a perfect shift from the more quiet first tracks.

After this piece of art, we have Man on the Sea which brings you back to the comfortable, relaxing atmosphere of this album. The Black River Near Nihon tells us the story of plowing through the Japanese sea. There’s a great Asian vibe and here, the positive quirkiness of the band comes into play. I’ve seen a lot of Asiamania movies and this track sets the vibe for 80’s Asian tunes right. A beautiful …. (I’m guessing its an Erhu, but correct me if I’m wrong) kicks in at around 2.15 minutes and complements another beautiful track.

An Excursion over the Plains is a 7+ minutes track that resembles the feelings of the crew, walking at the bottom of the sea and seeing some magnificent things. A track with an uplifting and relaxed atmosphere that shifts a bit after 2/3rd of the track. Some jazzy drums and distorted soundbites gives the track a sinister atmosphere. A Few Days on Land develops in the loudest track of the album but not without reason, if you followed the story a bit: The travelers set food on land and the natives didn’t appreciate that. Vanikoro begins like a shy animal unsure what to do. An atmosphere of uncertainty appears.

The conclusions of the album and the story it tells, comes in the form of The Coral Kingdom. Soundbites from deep within the ocean, quiet and distorted strings and deep drumming could create an even darker atmosphere, but the melancholy comes into play with soothing piano-like tunes, syhnthesizer waves in the background and quiet sound guitarwaves. A perfect finish for this tale and album where the dead are laid to rest and the listener will feel fulfilled.

This album is generously offered as a free download on the Bandcamp page of a great South-African based, independent label Moonswing Netlabel

On a sidenote, there’s a fantastic videogame series called Bioshock. This could be the soundtrack of that game too!

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