Stone Ocean – [Blackwinterwells]

In any rising music scene – regardless of its perceived level of meaning and/or significance – the act of properly noting landmark moments is an absolute necessity in both evaluating how that very scene has progressed to the point where it has today, and also predicting where it might go from here. 

These moments are certainly seldom for any musical movement in this light, there is simply no doubting that — but when a scene finds themselves transfixed with the approach of saturating the market with single after single from a seemingly endless amount of emerging acts, these all-too-momentous events become slightly easier to pick out, but are that much more exlusive in the process. 

That is exactly where Blackwinterwells had found herself within this incredibly prolific next era of pop music in the recent past. She has essentially been the world that this scene has revolved around since its earliest signs of resurgence, what with her all-encompassing and blatantly consistent production work across the landscape as it stood, so it’s only fitting that she’d be the one to come through with an equally encompassing full-length project of her own to serve as one of those landmark events in its history. 

If it was not already obvious enough, her newest album Stone Ocean is exactly what the previous sentiments have entailed beyond a shadow of a doubt. The 11-track odyssey of a project not only flaunts and encapsulates nearly all of the facets that make up the “Blackwinterwells” name in itself, but it also serves as a culminating piece of music that this very scene can effectively note as their most adequate cohesive representation as a whole. 

But even as in-demand of a producer as Wells is, an individual not in the know would be completely shocked to find out that Wells takes a convincing backseat on her production duties throughout the entire project itself, leaving the work to be remarkably accomplished by such talents as 4am, Ddertbag, Lyustra, Taylor Morgan, and numerous other mainstays of the scene she has worked to define for such a great deal of time now. 

This fact allows for Wells’s equally-impressive and incredible vocal talents to truly shine through in their own right. Her performance on the mic throughout the project is nothing short of dynamic, resounding, and simply awe-inspiring in its artistic weight. The opening “Algae” with d0llywood1 hits listeners with that notion immediately, as her souring, back-and-forth vocals set the bar for the rest of the album to follow. 

The following “Don’t Be” is a repeated example of what the former track represented in full, except for how it keeps the album at a steady pace more than simply opening the curtains. Ilymental and Funeral join Wells here, and given the duo’s incredible vocal talents themselves, they come to ideally match the remarkable work done by Wells here in such a fitting fashion. 

That fact actually leads into one of the most defining factors of the entire album as a whole other than Wells’s career-defining performance on the mic; her work as a complete and utter curating mastermind is essentially put on its most vivid display yet throughout this album, with each and every single given feature here being placed in the most reasonably perfect place throughout the tracklisting. 

Take Boysnightsout’s very own d1v on the track “Not Impressed” as one of the best pictures of this fact in motion — his subdued, yet ever-so-confident demeanor on any track he finds himself on is absolutely perfect for the themes presented by Wells herself on this very cut. Another instance of this sentiment is found on “Melting Game,” where the song’s upbeat and grooving nature is balanced perfectly with the recruitment of both Kuru and Blxty here, as they both give a tellingly different performance to freshen up what was set to be a convincingly straightforward offering. 

But taking this entire project in from the highest and most distant spectacle possible, the most telling facet that it has in store hampers back to that beginning claim; this album is a grand culmination of the career of Blackwinterwells leading up to this point, while also serving to encapsulate everything that this scene has worked towards in its own right. It is truly a moment that the world will look back on as an absolutely integral and classic instance of a movement on the fringes of infamy, and there is no one else who could have achieved this fact any better than Wells herself by doing what she did here.