I freaked out over Frank Ocean late Thursday night. I nearly jumped out of my seat upon hearing the news of his Livestream. I immediately opened up his website, a site that had brought with it such a lack of music in the last three years. The scene seemed eerily like that of the previous Livestream that adorned his website on the original release date, earlier this August. Instead of dropping his new album he instead live streamed himself working in the same carpentry studio that we all saw Thursday.
Frank Ocean working from inside his carpentry studio during his release of the visual album ENDLESS.
Frank was seen working away in his workshop building a staircase while new music, presumably from his highly anticipated third album, was playing in the background. In another turn of events he released a new visual album titled Endless, which runs for 45 minutes and contains previously unreleased gems. It’s set in the same warehouse as the one shown in the live stream on his website, seemingly jabbing at his listeners for his last stunt.
It wasn’t over done. It wasn’t overhyped. It was not “Kanye” at all. It is amazing how a no frills release will take over much faster than say a sold out show at the Madison Square Garden. Frank was simply creating not just one work of art, the album, but also creating an amazing, minimal visual that dazzled. At first I was trying to comprehend the film to that of its soundtrack. While the mind can play tricks in that instant, the brain thinking of a way that both the visual and music line up in unison, it just didn’t happen. Both are beautiful in their own right, together they create what I think is a beautiful, multimodal work of art. The perfect example of convergence media, without the seriousness, or lack of sincerity.
Ocean’s voice pierces through the pale, black and white backdrop of his carpentry studio. Gorgeous, long gospel rifts that both had the sound of Michael Jackson and R Kelly put together. That is if you can even fathom that combination. At some moments the picture that Ocean creates is large, boisterous at time, but in other instances has the sound of a computer. The album aesthetics seems to jump from that of Frank Ocean of old and the Radiohead that shocked the world in the late 90s’ and early 2000s’. Funny that I compare to it to the great British rock band because their guitarist, Jonny Greenwood worked extensively on a couple songs.
Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead member and Producer worked on the visual album project.
Frank Ocean is an RnB artist, one that is unlike any other that I have heard of in a long time. He doesn’t fit to the stereotypical scheme created by artist like Trey Songz, or Bryson Tiller. The songs that he is dishing out this past week have a more defined, almost classical sound to them. The lyrics, as well as the production of the song itself seem so defined and thoroughly thought. I guess anything would be pretty through if it takes upwards of four years to come out.
Unsurprisingly the samples of the geniuses that is Franck Ocean’s music sounded unlike that of the hits that were on Chanel Orange. The music on Endless has a hallow, yet Holy sound that hits every emotion possible. The opening moments where Ocean voice’s is in its peak falsetto created moments of nostalgia, images of the past dancing through my mind.
The beats weren’t intricate at first glance, but after listening to the project countless times the small sounds sitting in the background of each song are powerful in their own right. The strings found on the first song after a short intro are created by Greenwood, a musician that has already worked on countless motion picture and musical projects. For an instant they are simply just ambient background noise, slowly making their way to the forefront of the song, competing with Ocean’s melodies.
Periodically I find myself continually re-playing instances of the live stream, caught up in the moment of pure musical bliss. Each note being played created an over analyzing mentality, when the at other moments I looked at the music that Ocean has created as pure poetic justice. In the increasingly short forty-six minutes Ocean makes up for the three-year absence that plagued the music world.
Endless, a Frank Ocean Redemption.
Watch the entire Live Stream here.