frank ocean releases 45-minute visual album ‘endless’
Jazmine Sullivan, Sampha, Arca, James Blake, Wolfgang Tillmans, and the London Symphony Orchestra all feature on the project.
Earlier this evening, Frank Ocean's boysdontcry.co stream set the internet ablaze. The looped video piece — which at the start of the week was little more than field recordings from carpentry class — had begun to play actual music, which many believed to be Ocean's long-awaited sophomore album Boys Don't Cry. While diehard fans were snapping screenshots of every second of the visual on Ocean's website, he uploaded a 45-minute film, titled Endless, to Apple Music.
According to Pitchfork, a representative from Apple Music calls it Ocean's new "visual album." Endless features new Ocean tracks and takes place in the same warehouse space where his looped video project had been shot.
When the video first appeared on Ocean's website on August 1, many believed it to be a live stream; but eagle-eyed reporters spotted a Tom Sachs art piece in the corner that's presently on view at his Brooklyn Museum retrospective. Sachs later confirmed that the piece is not a live stream, but a video that was filmed "in the past year."
Though the Endless visual album is set in the same space as Ocean's stream, it features closeup shots and new details. Its credits reveal that, as suspected, James Blake and French pianist Christophe Chassol feature. Arca is also credited as a producer, while Jazmine Sullivan and Sampha pitched in with vocal collaborations. The Isely Brothers (who Frank has covered before, via Aaliyah) and Wolfgang Tillmans tracks are credited too.
Interestingly, Tillmans' "Device Control" is included in the project — which is the name of the photographer's forthcoming EP, due to be released on September 16. It's the same project for which the witch house outfit Salem have reunited to contribute their first new piece of music in five years, as Tillmans revealed last month. "More tracks and remixes tbc soon," he wrote at the time. Might Frank be in that mix?
When Frank made the Boys Don't Cry album announcement on Tumblr in April 2015, he wrote: "I got two versions," though it was unclear what he meant at the time. Rolling Stone confirms Endless and Boys Don't Cry are indeed separate projects, and the latter will be released this weekend.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Todd Cole
Photography assistance Alex Aristei
[i-D, The Royalty Issue, No. 318, Spring 12]