John Foxx – Cathedral Oceans
John Foxx has always maintained an interest in abstract, atmospheric music. He combined that with his fascination of churches and old ruined buildings, as he began to work on what would become a series of albums.
Work on Cathedral Oceans started as early as 1983, if not before - his 1981 track "The Garden" does hint at this work-in-progress towards. Unfortunately at the time, the market for this kind of instrumental music was sparse and as Foxx couldn’t get the backing he needed, it would be over a decade until the first Cathedral Oceans album would surface. Cathedral Oceans finally saw completion in 1995 and was released alongside Shifting City in 1997, when ‘ambient' music became popular in the mainstream.
Influenced by his experience of singing in a church choir as a boy, and the organic overgrown jungles and swamped cities from JG Ballard's novel The Drowned World, Cathedral Oceans is atmospheric, warm and organic, mixing soft synths with Foxx's enchanting, distant vocals and the sound of birdsong. This concept perhaps comes most to life in tracks such as “City As Memory”, “If Only...” and “Sunset Rising”.
The music of Cathedral Oceans is a constantly evolving, progressive experience. Foxx’s gregorian-style chanting drifts like fog through a dense forest, carrying the listener with it to places few other albums have taken you. There is a strong sense of spirituality on Cathedral Oceans, and that combined with the accompanying imagery created by Foxx, is an overall fascinating and uplifting experience.
Cathedral Oceans book and DVD
A lavishly illustrated book of Cathedral Oceans imagery was also released, containing over 30 fascinating photomontages created by John. The book also included excerpts from his unreleased Quiet Man book.
The DVD release combined the music of Cathedral Oceans with montages of Foxx’s unique imagery.