Montag, 20.11.2017
Denise Oemcke

Where the fuck is the album? Waiting for Frank Ocean!

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Our author Denise Oemcke is waiting for the man!

There is not much that I hate as much as waiting. Only exception: I’ve been waiting quite a while for the new album of Frank Ocean that has been announced over and over again without having been released. I was nonetheless very happy when in the beginning of July something seemed to happen. He posted the photograph of a library book slip on his Homepage, the laste date stamp on it seemed to point to a release in July.

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The desired album still hadn’t reached us by the end of the month, but a livestream was activated on his homepage. This made my FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) jump immediately into overdrive and for a while I just stared at the black and white video of a workshop trying to catch a glimpse of background noises – at least until I have to admit to myself that no new music can be heard here. Which is why I’m giving precedence to my usual work and am putting the window with the stream behind all the other windows on my desktop and only click on it every five minutes.

By 15 o’clock CMT suddenly strange sounds can be heard. And indeed, one click later Frank Ocean is standing in front of me in the workshop. But is it really him? And what is he doing? The person on my screen is cutting wooden boards into smaller ones with a table saw – accompanied by small pieces of background music, be it strings, guitars or electronic soundscapes with distorted vocals. It does sound like Frank Ocean by all means. But most of the time I am just listening to the sounds of the tools.

I’m spellbound, can’t click away. Working is out of the question, I’m even delaying cleaning the apartment to tomorrow, otherwise I might miss something. The live ticker for my working friends is at full blast: sometimes Frank (I’m still not sure if it’s him) walks through the room and checks his mobile, then there is a change of perspective, next he drills holes into the boards or refreshes himself with a sip of water.

In the meantime I get the funny idea, that Frank Ocean is just delivering the most expert troll in history and that soon Rick Astley will dance across the screen singing “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

At 19 o’clock he leaves the camera’s field of vision and doesn’t come back. That can’t be everything? Why did I stare on this video all day long? And where the fuck is the album?

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The internet is smarter than me: Francisco Soriano, who also made the video for “Lost” posted a video still from the workshop on Instagram and calls it “video art project” – but deletes the entry shortly after.

Instead month old tweets reappear in which someone recounts a bar encounter, who told him that he taught Frank Ocean how to build a staircase. But that it was a secret. The strange structure that can be seen in the side perspective on the right edge of the screen, and that is apparently build from many speakers, seems to be an art installation by Tom Sachs called Troyan’s. It’s part of his exhibition “Boombox Retrospective, 1999-2016” currently showing at Brooklyn Museum.

Thanks to the internet the reassuring news that the album will be release on Friday reaches me (well, history showed us different). And I think I figured out what’s happening here: The video (titled “Endless” on his homepage), will run until the album gets released; was very likely filmed months ago; contains obviously musical teasers from the record; and I guess that Frank will build his stairs for a couple of hours every day and it will probably done by …

And really, Frank is back by 15 o’clock and right now is trimming metal pipes with a saw. Although he keeps me waiting further on I can’t but express my highest recognition to Frank Ocean for putting me so much off my stride that I stared for hours at a badly lit video of a man who crafts something – and I will continue to drop in on the feed to survey his progress. Maybe just because I fancy people who are crafty.

Apart from that I’m looking forward to the certainly great album.

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