Listening to an atmospheric electronic track like Kid Smpl’s “Star Ocean,” which comes off the 22-year-old producer’s debut Skylight, is a lot like the audial equivalent to a vision test. You can see the writing on the wall through the optometrist’s heavy gear, but you can read it only sometimes. In this case, though, that’s part of the appeal.
Amid the cooing synth tones and roaring white noise at the end of the song, Kid Smpl has included some bluesy-sounding vocals that are probably about something, but in the context of the musical blur around it, the meaning behind the word don’t matter too much. After all, they certainly don’t matter to Kid Smpl, who comes across coy about the song.
When we asked him, via email of course, how the song came together, he replied, “Just made it on my laptop .” When queried on what the song meant to him, he sent us this gif. And when we pressed him on those vocal samples, the softly cooing yet masculine tones that make the song something more than just a smear of sound, he simply says, “As far as what’s being said, I like to leave that up to the listener.” The one thing he’s sure of and is willing to share is the meaning behind the swell of noise those closes the track: “It’s just what I wanted to happen within the context of the album at the time. It’s kind of like filling up all the space that the album has up until that point.” And that completely reasonable, emotion-driven reply captures why the tones in “Star Ocean” are just so captivating: it’s what’s happening in the moment for the reason of being in the moment.
Skylight is out now, via Hush Hush. Stream “Star Ocean” below:Kid Smpl - Star Ocean