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Laraaji, 'Ocean'

Laraaji's songs always drift with a patient, resplendent glory. The shimmery "Ocean," which arrives ahead of Segue to Infinity — a four-LP box set highlighting his earliest recordings, out Feb. 10, 2023 — attests to how he's always embodied these gargantuan bodies of water with an arresting thoughtfulness. It isn't just that his meditative ambience ripples with zither melodies or that his liberal use of reverb arrives in cavernous waves, but that he recognizes all people are part of an interconnected web with nature and beyond.

When Laraaji holds his laughter workshops, his goal is to provide a therapeutic environment where people can inhabit their "water body" and when listening to "Ocean," it's hard not to smile; its soft chimes demand you to slow down and, for a moment, it feels like every immediate problem and task can be pushed aside. While the three-minute version is an extract of the full 24-minute behemoth, it takes no time to recognize how immersive his atmospheres are: the different layers of zither feel like they're constantly lapping over one another, their every crest and trough a hypnotic marvel. As with all of Laraaji's best music, "Ocean" makes you feel wonderfully small.

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Joshua Minsoo Kim