Brijean – the Oakland-based duo of Brijean Murphy and Doug Stuart – shares the new single/video, “Ocean,” from their forthcoming album, Feelings, out February 26th on Ghostly International. It follows the single ‘Day Dreaming,’“a full-on swoon, a dazed, lovestruck reverie that captures that magical feeling of giving yourself over to someone — or something — new” (Stereogum). Murphy’s vocals on ‘Ocean’ are reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto’s airy croon, floating atop a brushed drum pattern, sparkling Rhodes lines, and softly funky woodblock bops. ‘Ocean’ stands out by leaning back for momentary sways of blissful introspection.
“‘Ocean’ reflects on uncertainty while maintaining curiosity,” says Brijean. “Written as an inquiry into self-reflection, the dimensions of love for another person and humanity’s capacity for health. Around the time we wrote the song, we were listening to a lot of Jobim and wanted to channel some of the serenity his music gives us.”
For the ‘Ocean’ video, “Various methods of video feedback and modular video synthesis were utilized to manipulate the footage captured by Brijean and Doug,” remarks director flatspot ___•. “We decided on a black and white treatment of the footage, contrasting with selective coloring and unusually cropping of the clips to evoke a dreamlike sequence, bringing the ocean to the desert.”
Murphy – one of indie’s most in-demand percussionists (Poolside, Toro Y Moi, U.S. Girls) – and Stuart, who share backgrounds in jazz, Latin and soul music and were both fixtures in Oakland’s diverse music scene, began collaborating in 2018. Following the duo’s first sessions, which resulted in the mini-album Walkie Talkie (released in 2019 on Native Cat Recordings), Brijean continued collaborating in Oakland, inviting friends Chaz Bear, Tony Peppers, and Hamir Atwal, who all would end up contributing to the album. “We improvised on different feels for hours,” says Murphy. “Nothing quite developed at first but we had seeds. We re-opened the sessions a couple months later, after returning from tours, and spent a month developing the songs in a little 400 square foot cottage.”
The leap from 2019’s Walkie Talkie to Feelings is marked by a notable expanse in range and energy. Brijean’s signature sound — a golden-hued dream pop tropicalia of dazzling beats and honeyed vocals — elevates with the addition of live drummers, strings, and synths. The album also finds Murphy fully trusting in her strengths, not just as a percussionist, but as a songwriter and collaborator. “Valuing myself as elemental instead of an ‘aux’ percussionist, and the undoubted support and talents of Doug, encouraged me to both make this project and collaborate with many different people.”
Brijean wants you to move, physically, mentally, dimensionally; this is dance music for the mind, body, and soul. With Feelings, they’ve manifested a gentle collective space for respite, for self-reflection, for self-care, for uninhibited imagination and new possibilities. The album cultivates a specific vibe, a softness Murphy has come to call “romancing the psyche.” In nebulous and verdant worlds of hazy melodies, feathery hooks, and percussive details, Feelings simply want us to feel alive. The songs radiate in wonderful abandon and with a sense of devotion to the self.