Ocean in the Sky by Angus Dawson [Single Review & Influences]

Photo: Matsu Photography

Photo: Matsu Photography

Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung

Most of us have had those drunken nights where we crave affection, a body to hold and we’ll text that the person on our mind. Sometimes it’s a bit of a selfish need but we don’t really consider how it affects our significant other. Angus Dawson puts that feeling into words and what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that contact with Ocean in the Sky, an intimate song filled sax sounds, subtle sirens and sentimental feels.

Brimming with lush production and rhythms ripened by Dawson’s vocals, the tune is unassuming in nature and probably has the tendency to be classed as a piece of easy listening, would I class it as that? No. Ocean in the Sky is an intoxicating piece of writing, with the vocal layering a direct translation of the layered meaning the song construes. It’s anything but easy listening as it tugs on your heartstrings.

Like many other musicians, his artist influences are abundant. As he raves about The Japanese House, Dawson is clear about what appeals to him when it comes to music that blows his mind or creates a spark of imagination  “I love hearing things that make me go ‘Oooft, nice, how did they do that?’” he says. For this creative, it’s all about the ideas.

Another of Dawson’s inspirations is Justin Vernon. “He’s taught me so much about songwriting, arranging and production. In my eyes he has the midas touch, I’ve loved pretty much every single piece of music he’s ever put out,” said Dawson. 

A friend of mine bought me his first album ages ago for Christmas and I can remember drunkenly crawling into bed on Christmas Eve and listening to it in full. When it ended I was like ‘Shit, what just happened?’ so I listened to it again and again for about 4 hours until just before sunrise. The next afternoon I gave it another spin to make sure my intoxicated brain wasn’t exaggerating its brilliance, it wasn’t. Justin Vernon is my hero.
— Angus Dawson

Classing himself as chill electronic music producer, Dawson offered insight into a big influencer in his genre’s scene, James Blake. “I’m not sure there’s anyone who’s influenced more producers. His combination of musicality and original production is second to no one. I would have no doubt that you can hear his influence in my music, he’s one of the reasons I started this solo project in the first place,” he said.

To my ear, whilst Blake has had a noticeable impact on Dawson’s compositional tone, the maturation of Angus Dawson’s sound is becoming increasingly noticeable as he develops his own sense of self, noticeable in the percussive licks and vibrations of his latest release. A tune that tempts your taste buds and leaves you waiting for more to come from his new EP Ellesmere St.