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PREMIERE: Studio Ghibli’s lost sound track found on the dynamic Native Eloquence on Big Blue Nowhere

Are you familiar with Studio Ghibli? They’re the Japanese animation studio who have been several hundred steps ahead of Disney for the last twenty years or so. Just look at the Hayao Miyazaki classics like Laputa: Castle in the Sky or Princess Mononoke and you’ll understand very quickly. These films are poetic, full of heart, and each an underlying theme of finding identity.

Now an ambient-electronic outfit called Native Eloquence from Oberlin, Ohio isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of gorgeous Ghibli films, but a listen to their new album Big Blue Nowhere will change your mind.

Naitve Eloquence Big Blue Nowhere

The dynamic soundscapes of Ohio three-piece Native Eloquence is inspiring and enrapturing. Big Blue Nowhere is ambitious but is tempered with nuance.

Native Eloquence are a ballsy bunch, taking a large variety of sounds and mashing them together like a kid does with different coloured play dough. To the spectator it may feel a bit random at times but what we’re left with is an LP that proudly shows off all its colours. That kid who mashes play dough together isn’t thinking about practicality, they’re thinking about creating new, vibrant colours with their hands.

It’s this kind of mindset you should have when going into Big Blue Nowhere. It’s four tracks of unbridled experimentation which never feels messy or over zealous. Like a good Ghibli film (which is all of them) the album covers a lot of thematic material, some of which you may not notice on first listen. Love, loss, jealousy, identity, discovery; they’re all there and not always in the lyrics.

Adam Hirsch’s vocals functions more like a sign post rather than leading you on the journey. He and his bandmates, Steve Becker and Duncan Standish, use an array of instruments to create deeply intimate soundscapes in which you can allow your mind to wander. Guitars, bass, drums, synths, woodwinds and sultry saxophone are each threads interwoven to create a beautifully lush tapestry. Wash is a great example of this, the playful xylophone would certainly feel at home on the My Neighbour Totoro soundtrack. Nothing ever sounds too forced, the band delicately balancing all their spinning plates with finesse.

The existential nature of Big Blue Nowhere may not be for everybody. Yet we will say that it never becomes overbearing in a self serving way that a lesser band would lean towards. The questions asked on the album are made for you to ponder rather than come up with an immediate answer. Ambitious yet nuanced, Native Eloquence have an admirable record on their hands. Here’s to hoping they make their way to Australia soon.

While you’re here, check out our list of Disney songs that rule.