On his newest song as Minor Moon, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Sam Cantor takes on a feeling that has become all-too-familiar over the past year: a nebulous sense of confusion and loss, most debilitating because of how difficult it is to even recognize, let alone put into words—or music, for that matter. Cantor manages that last bit admirably on “Under an Ocean of Holes,” the second single from—and the creative key to, as he’ll explain—his cosmic country project’s forthcoming third album Tethers, out March 26 on Ruination Record Co. and Whatever’s Clever.
Like “No Lightning Fix” before it, “Under an Ocean of Holes” imbues warm Americana with an otherworldly hum, with Cantor looking inward over twangy guitar riffs and restrained drums, as well as pedal steel and piano. Sprawling and complexly arranged, the song rises and falls like its eponymous body of water, eventually swelling to accentuate Cantor’s ace supporting cast, featuring V.V. Lightbody on vocals and flute, Ohmme’s Macie Stewart on violin, Nora Barton on cello, Nick Broste on trombone and Alex Blomarz on sax.
“On this song, ‘Under an Ocean of Holes,’ I was trying to dive deeper into the experience of a separation with a partner that was defined by confusion and a sense of being lost,” Cantor explains. “A lot of ideas, emotions and attachments that had come to define a large part of my life were getting reordered or vanishing altogether. That thick fog made it hard to think, speak or write about anything directly.”
“Transforming the narrative into a big, grandiose metaphor, ‘an ocean of holes,’ a frightening descent into some magical deep-down unknown realm, seemed more accurate to me than any lucid, mundane account of things,” he continues. “Writing this way helped open the door to the rest of the songs on Tethers.”
Listen to “Under an Ocean of Holes” below and revisit the details of Tethers right here.