The Berliners present an unusual live album that is a testimony of strange times: their Phanerozoic concept album performed live in its entirety at a time when no shows were happening anywhere in the world.
On September 25, 2020, in the middle of the global pandemic, The Ocean released their 9th studio album Phanerozoic II, the concluding episode of a conceptual trilogy that began with Precambrian 13 years before, with no end of lockdowns in sight, the band decided to thank their fans for the support with 2 streaming concerts, performing both Phanerozoic albums in their entirety.
The performance formed part of the digital edition of Roadburn Festival, aptly named Roadburn Redux. Both shows couldn't have been more different: where the first part boasts with a pompous, mesmerizing lighting production on a big stage, the 2nd part is quite the opposite: intimate, almost cosy, focused on musicianship rather than performance. A stripped down setup in a dark barn, with moody, minimal but not any less efficient lighting.
“We wanted to give people 2 totally different experiences”, says band leader Robin Staps. “In Bremen, we had the chance to record a proper Ocean live show, the way people know us. We played facing towards the front of the stage, to an invisible crowd, essentially to a huge empty room... but we knew people were watching, even if we didn't see them. There was the same rush of adrenaline right before going on stage as you get before going on at any big open air festival... maybe with a little extra anxiety added, because knowing that so many people are watching you without being able to see them yourself was super weird.”
Phanerozoic Live is a live album like no other – it is a live album that was recorded in a cultural vacuum, a bizarre time that we will remember for the rest of our lives: a time when the world as we knew it suddenly stopped spinning. It is a live album that goes without all the qualities that we usually appreciate about a live album: without the sounds of a cheering, exited crowd... but it is the very absence of this, it is the eery silence between the songs that reminds us of what we miss most, and that gives these recordings a rare intensity and power.
PHANEROZOIC I: LIVE IN BREMEN
THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION TRIASSIC
PHANEROZOIC II: LIVE AT ROADBURN REDUX
JURASSIC | CRETACEOUS
MIOCENE | PLIOCENE