Holocene sees the The Ocean add a new and closing chapter to their palaeontology- inspired album series, presenting a gear shift towards the electronic world while redefining heaviness at the same time.
Phanerozoic II ended with a track titled “Holocene”, and now it’s clear that this track was pointing in the direction of things to come, both conceptually and musically. The dark, synth-driven track Holocene ends abruptly and yet connects seamlessly with where this new album begins: the haunting synth sounds of opener “Preboreal”.
Enter the Holocene—the latest and thus-far shortest epoch on our Earth’s geological time scale in which humanity appeared on the planet. Through rapid proliferation, cultural evolution and technological development, our species has shaped and changed our planet in ways unprecedented in history. Moving into the human age, The Ocean have become more intimate and captivating musically, while creeping deeper into their own DNA with numerous references to their earlier discography which older fans will cherish.
Robin Staps explains about the writing process behind Holocene: “The writing process of every album we’ve ever made started with me coming up with a guitar riff, a drumbeat or a vocal idea. This album is different since every single song is based on a musical idea that was originally written by Peter (Voigtmann, synths). He came up with these amazing synth parts that were already sounding huge in pre-production, and he sent me some of those raw, unfinished ideas during mid lockdown 2020… and while it was all electronic, it had that definite Ocean vibe to it. It made me want to pick up my guitar instantly… and so I did, and it didn’t take long until we had an inspiring creative exchange that was heading towards totally unforeseen but very exciting places.”
While Staps took Voigtmann’s initial ideas and “oceanized” them as he says, Voigtmann still pursued his own vision of these ideas, entirely without guitars. This resulted in an ambient electronic parallel album under his alter ego SHRVL, titled “Limbus”. A part of the ltd. Holocene 4LP boxset which also includes the vocal and instrumental versions of the Holocene album and an extra 10” vinyl EP, Voigtmann’s solo album offers an intriguing alternative view on some of the musical ideas of Holocene, and a deep insight into his creative mind.
“Holocene is an appendix to the 2 Phanerozoic albums and Precambrian, or the final and concluding chapter, making it a quadrilogy if you want so”, Staps comments. “It’s tackling the holocene epoch, which is the current and shortest chapter in earth’s history, but it is essentially an album about the angst, alienation, loss of reason and critical thinking, rise of conspiracy theories and deconstruction of values in the modern age.”