“Sea Meditation”
(Entertainment Systems)

So in case you didn’t know (and why would you?), I have a four-and-a-half-year-old son, and he’s going through an Octonauts phase right now. For those unfamiliar, Octonauts is a cartoon that takes place under the sea. There’s a polar bear, a cat, a penguin, an otter, a rabbit, an octopus, and a bunch of turnip-like creatures called vegimals that live in a high-tech scientific underwater observatory, and they go on various adventures and meet all kinds of different creatures. Kids learn a lot of good stuff. As an adult, I recommend it – it’s a surprisingly engaging kids’ show.

H Takahashi’s Sea Meditation is obviously meant as a paean to the ocean, and it’s carefully crafted as a simulation of the solitude one would feel if immersed in the briny deep. No adventure here – unless you consider the activity of your mind while alone adventurous. In a sense it is, actually – I keep wanting to use the noun meditation in this review as if Takahashi hasn’t already made it clear in the release’s title that he’s going for ruminative qualities, but the deeper inside your mind you get and the more you visualize the amazing and mysterious landscape of the sea, the better you’re able to discover new and exciting things. About yourself, about our planet, whatever – Takahashi’s music takes you there. Sea Meditation is a cassette-length submersion experience, and it will make you appreciate life – not just ocean life, but life everywhere – just a little bit more.

Imagine if Mark Mothersbaugh’s Life Aquatic score was ambient instead of quirky, and instead of a jaguar shark, ol’ Steve Zissou and Esteban quietly observed the vast array of organisms around them as they hovered tranquilly and drifted with the currents. Or imagine if the Octonauts themselves had a day off, and they didn’t have to rescue a crab or a sea cucumber or something from some sort of peril – perhaps they enter a cave filled with wildly bioluminescent creatures and just look at it for a while. Sea Meditation is these things, and oh so much more. For naturalists and dreamers alike.

--Ryan Masteller