Time For Dreams: 5 Ocean Songs
To coincide with the release of
I’m a big fan of the ocean, both as a body of water and a symbol of the collective unconscious. I’m a double water sign, a Cancerian with Cancer rising. I don’t know if that means anything or not but I can truly say I never feel quite right unless I am up to my neck in water.
I grew up coastal, Newcastle NSW, which means basically all my formative life moments took place within a stone’s throw of The Pacific Ocean. I’m drawn to music which is immersive and has something mythic about it.
I am fortunate enough to have some generous friends who shouted me a go in a flotation tank/bath/pod thingo the other day. It was excellent, but I definitely spent some of the time in there wishing I could have brought my own oceanic playlist to float to.
This is an ambient, new-age composition so it is recommended listening as a whole album (Science Fiction) but I particularly like the prelude which has a dawning quality. Beaut mix of synthesisers and Japanese acoustic instruments, you can practically see the marine flowers blooming in the test tubes of the the ’80s future music laboratory.
This Mortal Coil
A Tim Buckley cover. I like the original but can’t really go past this ’80s version with the emotional synthesizers and Elizabeth Fraser’s distinctive vocal which gives it a dramatic, windswept Celtic vibe. There is a great clip on youtube of Buckley performing this solo on The Monkees TV show.
I first heard this song on the Dogs In Space soundtrack which I was miraculously exposed to at the age of 13 or so. I suppose that’s normal for cool kids who grow up in Melbourne but I was at this time still trying to claw my way through the oppressive paternal schmaltz of Huey Lewis and The News and the only soundtrack I owned was Ghostbusters. This song is just an absolute epic ripper – the pounding drums and bass, the wonky keys, the scary narrative build, the howling crescendo. It’s all a blueprint for brilliance.
When I was growing up my mum’s boyfriend was a lighthouse keeper so we spent a lot of time on his island of the coast of Fingal Bay in Port Stephens. When he first lived there the submarine electric cable was intact, so he had his huge fake wood-panelled ’70s stereo flown out and delivered by helicopter. He pretty much only listened to Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens which seemed appropriate to me. He believed in aliens and we would write messages of welcome to them on the helipad with chalk and lie out under the stars playing Pink Floyd and eating Anzac biscuits, waiting.
I am just a huge fan of Vangelis, I like his unbridled sentimentality and his distinctive spacey synth sounds. There is something so weird about the jauntiness of this song and the operatic vocals that teeter on the edge of being too much. I think because of the tempo and repetition they end up winning. If you give in you will go on your way in a good humour and a holiday mood.