Earthen Sea is the experimental ambient/techno solo project of Jacob Long, best known to indie rock fans as a member of the Dischord-signed post-hardcore group Black Eyes and the dubby, drum-heavy post-punk band Mi Ami. On his own, however, he crafts dark drone and glacial dub-techno similar to artists like Loscil, Deepchord, and the Sight Below. He began releasing Earthen Sea material during the early 2000s, while still a member of the Washington, D.C.-based Black Eyes. Released on limited-edition cassettes and CD-Rs, some of his earliest material utilized violin, tape decks, and keyboards to create eerie soundscapes. After Black Eyes broke up in 2004, Long moved to San Francisco and started Mi Ami with former bandmate Daniel Martin-McCormick, releasing several albums and EPs on labels like Quarterstick, Thrill Jockey, and 100% Silk. The group took up much of Long’s time, but a few Earthen Sea cassettes appeared while the band was active.
By the time Mi Ami released their 2012 album, Decade, their sound had become entirely electronic and house-influenced, and Martin-McCormick had released similar material as Ital on labels like Not Not Fun and Planet Mu. Earthen Sea released the Mirage EP on Martin-McCormick’s Lovers Rock imprint in 2014, but his style of techno was far more introspective and reserved rather than club-focused. Following a more abstract split LP with Insect Factory, Earthen Sea’s full-length Ink appeared on Lovers Rock in 2015. A digital EP titled The Sun Will Rise was released by Nicolas Jaar’s Other People in 2016. Following a move to Brooklyn, Long released A Serious Thing (a collection of odds and ends) and An Act of Love, his debut on Kranky, in 2017. Two years later, the same label released his third album, Grass and Trees, which presented a stripped-down, skeletonized version of dub techno. ~ Paul Simpson