In a 1927 letter to Sigmund Freud, French writer Romain Rolland asked the neurologist to analyze something he called an “oceanic feeling” that permeated all religious beliefs. To the writer, it was a sense of “being one with the external world as a whole.” Freud called it a “primitive ego-feeling” — what an infant experiences before they learn that anybody else, other than them, exists in the world.

It’s this sentiment that informs “Oceanic Feeling,” pianist and composer Koki Nakano’s latest release and his third outing on Paris-based label No Format!. The titular opening track is an expansive introduction, as soft gears and emotive mechanisms gently whir to life to drive the album forward. Its symbiotic pairing of Nakano on the piano and constructed synthetics results in a biomechanical aesthetic: an organic, living-and-breathing machine.

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