Some electronic music hits you with beats so grimy that you feel compelled to shower after listening. And then some electronic music plays like a soothing dip in clean, cool water. The new collaborative track by venerable Icelandic composer/producer Ólafur Arnalds and Australia-born, Los Angeles-based singer Ry X falls into the latter category so distinctly that the duo actually named the song “Oceans.”
Built on a low-simmer beat flecked with synths that shimmer like sunlight on waves, the song is a vehicle for Ry X’s husky falsetto, which has made him a favored collaborator for acts including Odesza and Maya Jane Coles‘ Nocturnal Sunshine project, along with his own solo work and projects with The Acid and Howling. Meanwhile, Arnalds just wrapped a 140 show tour behind his 2018 LP, Re:member.
Delivered in an The Old Man and the Sea-themed video directed by Australian director/photographer Matthew Thorne, their first collaborative song “Oceans” is premiering exclusively on Billboard Dance today (Jan. 30).
“Oceans” came to life after Arnalds reached out to Ry X asking if he’d remix a track from Arnalds’ most recent album. As emails flew back and forth across continents, the collaboration evolved into an entirely new song, with a sample of Arnalds’ track “Ypsilon” serving as its base. Ry X wrote new lyrics and Arnalds added piano, with the result being a gorgeous single perfect for your late night playlists and moonlit swims. Arnalds calls the collaboration “a deeply inspiring one that I don’t see ending anytime soon.”
“Oceans is a testament to mine and Ry’s creative kinship,” Arnalds tells Billboard Dance. “What started out as a remix quickly grew into something wholly different, as we found more and more things to explore, intertwining our sonic worlds to create something larger than the sum of its parts. The organic nature of the creative process felt like it called for a similar approach in the video using 16mm film to take us on a journey towards the combined creative light.
“For me there is beauty in the exploration and restrained of both universes here,” says Ry X. “Beautiful that it doesn’t lean completely for any world, but instead builds bridges between them, and retains a sense of both heart and inherent sensuality too. I think we could continue to make beautiful music together with our combined energies. Happy to begin here with ‘Oceans’ for your ears.”
“Oceans” is out tomorrow, January 31, via Mercury KX. Listen one day early below.