Sunday, 1 January 2012

Oceans of Night - Domain review for Alternative Matter magazine

“Domain” is the latest offering from two man project Oceans of Night featuring Scott Mosher on instrumentation (guitars, bass and keyboards), Scott Olivia on vocals and featuring Alan Smithee on drums. From the opening title track “Domain”, an ambitious seventeen and a half minute opus of keyboard led mystery, the listener is taken on a journey which, on first listen can appear sterile and clinical in delivery, but on further inspection reveals depths of musical atmosphere that reward the attention. The guitar melodies throughout the track never impose but are never merely there to add erroneous filler; instead they add a luxuriant landscape to the material which is a rare feat in music of this sophistication and intellect. When the guitar solo breaks through and the energy levels are taken up a gear, the track is fifteen minutes underway, but patience has been rewarded.
 Subsequent tracks such as “Don’t Look to Me” and “Seven Days of Rain” although similarly infused with symphonic keyboard passages and uplifting guitar lines, do not have the space to expand and therefore feel somehow crowded with instrumentation. This is not to say that the material is cumbersome because of it, but there is a lot of activity in these shorter tracks. “So Near Yet So Far” takes on a more grandiose approach and is a pleasure for the listener who enjoys being carried along on waves of expansive keyboard and guitar lines. The album continues in a similar vein throughout several more pieces until the listener is bombarded with “Instruments of Fear” which takes the instrumentation up a gear again and bombards the listener who is unprepared with unyielding guitar and bass that leaves the waves of keyboard ambience behind and is a genuine thrilling interlude to the album in general. “The Future Remembered” has a ghostly feel generally and is somewhat reminiscent of the soundtrack to a mid budget science fiction film until the vocals return us back to more recognizable territory. The album closes with another familiarly sounding “Ghosts of the Past”, which, despite the subtle change in vocal style, brings back the symphonic keyboard and guitar quality.
Overall, it has to be said that “Domain” showcases individuals who are well crafted songwriters and arrangers, who, when given the space to exhibit their craft, do so admirably. For listeners who are energized by multiple layers of precision sound, this album will truly be an indulgence.

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