Ras Teo Inhailing Your Ocean Review

Ras Teo – Inhailing Your Ocean – Review

Ras Teo: Inhaling Your Ocean Single Review by Mr Topple for Pauzeradio.com.

Ras Teo is never one to shy away from breaking away from Roots as a genre – as his latest single shows.

Inhaling Your Ocean, released via Teo’s own label Forward Bound Records, sees the artist join forces with the extremely talented Greg “Jah Greg” Tate and Zachary Tate across the composition. Production comes from Humbl Sohl and Teo, while the slick mastering comes from Joe Bozzi at Bernie Grandman Mastering (Los Angeles) – known for mastering Prince and Micheal Jackson.

The track, from Teo’s perspective, is revelatory – merging a traditional Pop-Soul ballad with a delicate hint of the African. David “Jah David” Goldfine, whom Teo has repeatedly worked with recently, gives us a bass meandering around the track across mainly semibreves, being the main proponent of the slow yet still fluid feeling. Juxtaposing this is Sohl’s piano line. Cinematic, grandiose, and haunting, it runs a complex melodic line – but one that peaks and troughs in terms of the intricacy of the arrangement and its dynamics – putting you in mind of UK artists such as Adele and Emeli Sandé. This and the bass are the rudimentary elements of Inhaling Your Ocean; note the lack of drums – which is a wise decision as they would have overwhelmed things.

Then, additional instrumentation brings further interest to proceedings. Always-on-point Zoe Brown’s flute (using MTR) is made good use of – fluttering in and out. Brown is the consummate performer, here making the instrument sound like a human voice filled with vibrato – almost as a female vocal response when it enters solo on the verses at the end of some of Teo’s phrases. Asbet “Gasby” Babakhani’s electric guitar line performs a similar role when Brown’s flute is absent on the second verse – and both their inclusions are extremely well thought out. For a fleeting moment, they come together towards the end of Inhaling Your Ocean and it’s joyous.

Babkhani then also delivers an acoustic guitar, which serves as more of a backing instrumentation device. Strings feature heavily across the choruses, running harmonised dotted semibreves before slight movement at the end of each bar. Long-time collaborator Roberto Sanchez provides exquisite backing vocals across both his tenor and falsetto ranges – and, to finish off the package (and bring in a subtle yet effective nod to the Motherland) Goldfine’s kette patter across the track in a traditional African manner.

The arrangement, when viewed as a sum of its parts, is also extremely well-constructed. The peaking and troughing throughout is marked – with the chorus swelling like the storm surge of an ocean, before rolling-back somewhat on the verses, before swelling again and so on. The minor key is used effectively, and the stark opening and closing is almost the calm before the storm.

Overall, Inhaling Your Ocean has a gorgeous musical backdrop, which provides Teo with a platform to showcase his ability to provide straight vocals. Here, he uses almost the full range of his tenor voice – dipping low, running up high, and back again – making excellent use of dynamic light and shade to accentuate the lyrics and the sombre minor key of the track. He can vary his style of vibrato (as seen across previous tracks), here using is in a rapid and fluttering manner. He has also constructed detailed and expressive lyrics which he matches his performance to.

Overall, Inhaling Your Ocean is a highly attractive, brilliantly constructed, and perfectly delivered piece from Teo and all involved. A complete break from Roots – which here can only be considered a good thing. More of this please, Teo.

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Ras Teo Inhailing Your Ocean Review by Mr Topple / Pauzeradio PR Services (3 April 2024).

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