There’s something about the music of Ohio based Ryan Chamberlain, it’s familiar yet different, existing near enough to reference points to be accessible, but far enough away to keep things interesting. Whilst his previous album on Lost Tribe sound, 2021’s The Rise and Fall of the Melting World felt like the place where field recordings and sound design collided, In The Octopus Pond is much more overtly musical. Perhaps it’s the chugging baseline and shimmering guitars, which when merging with field recordings conjure up a unique ambient almost shoegazey soundscape.
It’s highly atmospheric; at times it feels noirish, the layers of sound creating a lush body of sound imbued with a slow swinging narcotic groove. With the abundance of water based field recordings it really does feel like you’re slowly being submerged in these evocative transformative sounds.
Yet there’s also a concept, which encompasses mystical rituals of a race of benevolent octopod that once cared for the earth. It’s referenced via the incredible artwork and some of the peculiar song titles such as ‘Oil Swimmer’ and ‘Tree of Disciples’ and there’s a whole tale that you can read about on the bandcamp page. There’s something in the rhythmic repetition, his almost trip hop stutter that lends itself to the ritualistic, and notions of worship, and the dreamy atmospheric quality of the music lends it a spiritual quality, providing the space you need to dive within and connect with your deity of choice.
Perhaps the most lasting impression of In The Octopus Pond is that it possesses the kind of narrative that makes it really feel like an album. It’s connected via the aforementioned elements, however there’s enough diversity of approach in its twists and turns that each track not only feels like its own story, but by putting them together Chamberlain has crafted a rich and evocative tale.