Sixteen Oceans

Sixteen Oceans

Over 20 years into his career, Kieran Hebden continues to soothe, surprise, and subvert genres on 10th album Sixteen Oceans. The record contains some of his most up-front tracks yet, and his most minimal. Although the producer has remixed for Rihanna and Sia, it’s still a surprise to hear Ellie Goulding’s vocals (and, of course, chopped up) on “Baby,” while single “Teenage Birdsong” is another highlight, as synth, flute, and harpsichord sounds converge over intricate, crunching drums. Birds, insects, and nature feature across the entire record—“Green” puts you in the middle of a rainforest in its first section before giving way to sci-fi bleeps, and “Romantics” conjures images of seas and sunlight. The final third of the album strips away percussion altogether and leaves ambient chimes, drones, and whirs, precisely the meditative vibe needed for 2020.

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