In his past two solo EPs the Spanish producer Arenas created a patchwork of styles including hiphop, house and footwork, quickly shifting between genres without staying anywhere for too long. He now seems to have settled down into a more introspective, less in-your-face sound but without losing any of its energy. “I’ve been doing my best to focus less on attempting to impress people with crazy music production techniques and instead trying to transmit an emotion, or maybe something even more subtle than an emotion, like an elusive memory that can’t be expressed with words but only hinted at with music”.
Being involved as a producer in a myriad of musical projects ranging from experimental pop to rap to RnB hasn't stopped Arenas from spending time on his solo work, and with this release he seems to have matured and developed his own unique sound.
He cites modern rap production as the main influence on this project (artists like Future, Lil Uzi
Vert, Travis Scott and the late XXXTENTACION) but approached from his background in
experimental electronic music, naming artists such as Burial, Jamie XX or Bon Iver as strong
“The title “Inner ocean” refers to the feeling of having an infinitely vast universe inside of you, a
place you can fully dive into (an maybe drown into if you’re not careful) whenever the outside world becomes too threatening or simply exhausting. As a kid I used to imagine these entires universes with their own complex stories and characters, places that I could go back to whenever I needed to feel comforted and safe. I think all of my music comes from that inner world.”
The first song “Aal” is an atmospheric voice sample collage that feels like it would be at home in a
Bon Iver album. It is beautifully melancholic yet hopeful, soaked in reverb and delay, and feels like
the entrance point into the inner world Arenas talks about. It leads into “Young death”, an emotive
trap instrumental that was inspired by an internet story. Quoting Arenas: “I found this Reddit thread one night about this teenager who committed suicide after finding out his girlfriend had cheated on him with his best friend, and it was all built around a song that he listened to with her the night they met and that he was listening to again as he was sharing his story on the internet before killing himself. It was very intense and made me feel this flood of emotions that I needed to let out”.
“Mount Wachusett" creates a lush, somewhat melancholic landscape, filled with marimbas and
steel drums and building into a driving beat, inspired by Brazilian funk. “Aurora borealis?”, “My
mouth tastes like blood” and “Goodnight” feel like the core of the project, an experiment on modern trap production filled with voice samples and switching rapidly between 808 beats and ambient soundscapes that feel like a mix between a Burial song and something out of a Bladerunner movie.
“Sleep is the cousin of death”, with its beautifully wonky piano chords and soft melodies
reminiscent of Debussy truly feels like the ending to a long immersive story, and its abrupt ending
is like a sudden awakening into reality after a mysterious dream.
“Inner ocean” is out now on all platforms.