Personnel: Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals, guitar, flute, keyboards); Andrea Calderon (vocals, strings); Chris Common (vocals, keyboards, drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Chris Common.
Recording information: Sargent House, Echo Park, CA.
Photographer: Greg Burns.
It should come as no surprise that Some Heavy Ocean, the debut solo outing from industrious California-based singer/songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle, engages in a bit of sonic flirtation with her myriad other projects, which include fronting the post-rock/psych-metal outfit Marriages, the folk-slowcore collective Nocturnes, and sending up plumes of guitar-fueled ambiance with post-metal heroes Red Sparowes. A stripped-down affair that falls somewhere between the hallucinogenic dream pop of Julee Cruise, the forlorn, midnight twang of Mazzy Star, and the evocative psych-folk of Faun Fables, Some Heavy Ocean lives up to its moniker with ten slabs of reverb-drenched, post-folk goodness that are as dense and impenetrable as they are gossamer and ephemeral. The title track, which is actually more of an intro, evokes the aforementioned Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" played backwards and segues effortlessly into the record's loveliest piece, "Shadows of My Name" -- like the best parts of Some Heavy Ocean, it feels both relevant and impossibly old, like a radio dial stuck between medieval court music and Priest=Aura-era Church. The intimate and hypnotic "Oh Sarah" impresses as well, as does the emotionally charged "Run Forever," the latter of which matches Rundle's deft guitar playing with an equally affecting vocal take. The sound quality waxes and wanes, with some moments peaking a bit too high in the mix and maxing out in a crush of zeroes and ones, but the occasional lo-fi moments only add to the rawness and intimacy of the sessions, and by the time Rundle reaches the epic "Living with the Black Dog," a dense and brooding midnight black slab of Wolves in the Throne Room-inspired ambient metal, the listener is far too caught up in the miasma to notice anything else afoul. ~ James Christopher Monger