One of the things I really love is when two artists or bands I really like collaborate. I say ‘love’ but there’s always that risk that there’s a mismatch. So the news that The Ocean Beneath – who I’ve been reviewing for while now – and Fran Minney – a recent discovery for me – had worked together on this single had me intrigued and wondering whether it would work. I thought it would, but you know, that risk is always there.
‘Skin’ is something special – thankfully, and not entirely unexpectedly. There is a distinct melding of The Oceans Beneath and Fran’s sound on this. There are those 80s’ synth sounds that you’d expect from The Ocean Beneath but they mix with a feel that you’d expect from Fran.
It’s a sultry, sensual thing with something of the feel of Japan at points – delicate runs of keyboards. It’s sparse, you can ‘hear’ the space in the track. Simple sounds are layered, weaved in and out. Fran’s vocals are so beautiful. Her tone is so wonderfully intimate. At times her voice drops to a fx’ed sound. If you can ignore the words, you can treat her voice as another instrument. But those words are hard to ignore. It builds to sections that are insistent,, that pulse, that reflect the words.
The whole is an incredibly beautiful piece of electronic pop – for yes while it has the structure of a song, somehow it’s more than a song, it’s more of a sound piece, an expression of mood, of atmosphere, of feelings.
I’m going to keep this short because I don’t want to delay you hearing the song. So do that now. Sink into the magic of it, let it wash over you, take you to a beautiful place.
The Ocean Beneath
The Ocean Beneath is the brainchild of Leeds based musicians Matt Burnside and Rich Blacker. Together they create an 80’s inspired mixture of powerful analogue synthesis, melodic sweeping vocals and huge grooving percussion alongside collaborators such as Fran Minney, Nath Jackson and Keeper of Bees. This is electronic music with heart.
Fran Minney creates a dreamy indie electronica soundtrack to the colourful woodland world she mentally inhabits. For performing live Fran uses the limbs at her disposal to create a full band sound as a soloist by use of Ableton, looping and midi controllers.