Oceania is a Russian dubstep producer and multi-instrumentalist named Nick Kostylew. So far his work has included the Cracked Out E.P. for Reboot Records, an uncomplicated release of hoods-up, traditionalist stompers that comes across as fairly accomplished, if unchallenging. The Postable EP, his latest release, for 7even — a French label whose output has been a quietly confident selection of techno and bass music — is a sidestep into new territory involving chopped piano and various Burialisms for an occasionally pretty, often workmanlike EP.
There’s enough to enjoy for anyone suffering from James Blake withdrawal, especially those who enjoyed the sparse, elegiac piano shards exhibited on the Klavierwerke EP. But while Postable is accomplished, it lacks dubstep’s necessary tension. Kostylew is great at selecting sounds — thudding, brittle kicks, warm bass, and bursts of white noise — yet it often seems that something better, more vital, could have been done with them. “You Live In Me” and “Stop,” both featuring female vocalist N, are the strongest tracks, the latter with its repeated “Your eyes are solid stone,” which sustains an interesting, techy beat-cluster and soft fragments of piano around Kostylew’s vocal. For what it offers, however, the release is overlong; “Forest” is a successful slice of Ramadanman-lite jungle, but opener, “Mantra,” and the title track are indecisive, unforceful compositions, and occasionally atonal in a way that sounds unintentional. Still, it’s an EP that demonstrates a broad understanding of blank space and the post-dubstep grid. It’s a competent beginning for a producer’s career that will bring pleasure to some, although it’s one that relies too heavily on learned ideas.