Jacob Long’s third Earthen Sea outing for Kranky, Ghost Poems, further refines his fragile, fractured palette into fluttering arrythmias of dust, percussion, and yearning. Composed during the first wave of lockdowns in New York, the pieces took shape patiently from samples of piano, texture, and domestic sounds (sink splashing, room tone, clinking objects), filtered through live FX to imbue them with an intuitive, immaterial feel. Wisps of melody splinter, shimmer, and refract, like light on water; pulses accrue and dissipate, as if mapping shifting sands. Throughout, there’s a sense of matter made animate, of absences felt. Long cites notions of “the studio as a dub instrument” and the melancholy of “7th chords on a fake Rhodes patch” as central elements in his process, transforming raw materials into rare thresholds of symbiosis and hypnosis. This is music for night skies in hollowed-out cities, for views across rivers towards unknown shores: restless, placeless, and profound.
Grass And Trees
***CHECK STOCK!!! Received a 7.1 rating from Pitchfork. Jacob Long’s reductionist rhythmic ambient vessel, Earthen Sea, ebbs towards a more purely elemental state on his second excursion for Kranky, Grass And Trees. He describes the creative process as one of “simplifying things as much as possible,” designing uncluttered spaces traced in nothing but breath, field recordings, and “sounds that could be played by hand but weren’t.” The results feel decentralized but dynamic, low-lit evocations of ambiguous nocturnal environments—dub techno disassembled into stray pulses and spare parts. It’s a music both interior and infinite, languorous yet transformative, made in the outer boroughs of a metropolis but existing in its own liminal wilderness. Long’s vision is a grounding one, rooted in the physical body but attuned to larger currents: “In response to living in a fairly hectic city, and at a very hectic time for the world at large, creating something more drawn back and restrained felt appropriate.”
An Act Of Love
***CHECK STOCK!!! Received an 8.1 rating from Pitchfork. Jacob Long’s newest recordings under the Earthen Sea moniker deepen his compelling synthesis of shadowy rhythms and opaque atmospherics, drawing on the most potent qualities of melancholic ambient and dub techno. An Act Of Love follows 2015’s Ink, released via Ital’s Lovers Rock imprint, and was inspired by internal tribulations and the experience of exploring an empty nocturnal metropolis. Careful waves of tones drift and decay; beats materialize and pulse across twilit landscapes; a noir mood reigns. Given Long’s background as bassist for revelatory tribalpunk trio MI AMI, this album showcases a musician in the midst of transcendent redefinition, crafting an immersive language of texture and motion.