Olan Mill is the recording project of UK artist Alex Smalley, who’s work holds a sublime measure between the realms of modern neo-classical composition and ambience. On Home, Smalley has mined his most expansive territory yet to create a thrillingly evocative and deeply felt body of work.
The tender clusters of sound that have defined Olan Mill’s tonal space take on a new soaring quality in using voice to propel Home with a new emotional surge. Alongside soprano Patricia Boynton featuring throughout, Smalley has assembled an ensemble of musicians playing woodwind, piano, pipe organ and violin to augment his guitar and field recordings. Together they combine for both moments of heart-rending intimacy and bursts of flowering, floating orchestral sound. Inspired by travels abroad, Home is a both an urban and exotic panorama, keening with waves of joyous energy and direct pulse, as well as the ultimate comedown from such pure euphoria. Recorded by Smalley in his home – a place lived in by his family in generations past – the album has an earthy air that magically weaves through its otherworldy radiance to portray the compelling dynamic at the heart of Olan Mill.
Home is the fifth work in Preservation’s limited edition CD series Preservation called Circa for 2012. Only 300 copies of each release in the series will be available and will feature a design by Mark Gowing. each design realised using an abstract alphabet that creates an interlocking grid, determined by artist and volume number for something both fixed, random and unified across the entire series.
Released on CD in October 2012. Limited to 300 copies.
Olan Mill is Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko and ‘Pine’ marks the first release for the two as collaborators. The album comprises ten instrumental pieces and between Smalley and Samoylenko we are treated to the sound of the piano, violin, pipe organ and guitar. Other sound sources may reveal themselves to the astute listener, but for the most part, ‘Pine’ is concerned with big, stirring sound palettes which belie the duo’s modest array of instruments.
‘Pine’ was recorded over several sessions on location inside a small church which lends a very human, almost tangible sound to the album. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Olan Mill are not obsessed with the notion of minimalism, neither is there any sense of the pieces having been planned or preconceived. As a result, the listening experience can be said to be natural in the truest sense of the word.
This first offering by Olan Mill is an unashamedly emotional and romantic body of work which, thanks to a certain restraint on the part of its creators, never becomes too self-conscious or introverted. This may be due in part to the short duration of many of the compositions, Olan Mill open windows into their world, but we’re never allowed to look too closely or for too long.
Edited by b1gl0ngn0w on 16 Nov 2012, 09:00
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