More gorgeous piano powered drone from the prolific Olan Mill. In the crowded field of modern composition and ambient, Alex Smalley’s newest project has created a unique space joining the emotional reach and oceanic swells of someone like Fennesz with subtle organic and instrumental touches drawn from field recording. The Home Normal packaging is equally lovely as always.
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Half Seas Over is a phrase used by ye olde sailors to describe that “oh shit” situation where waves are washing over into your ship. Rather than dwell on the peril implied by that predicament, it’s almost as if UK-based ambient doctor Olan Mill has decided “ah well, I guess that’s it” and accepted the engulfing of the ocean.
It’s the washy sound of acceptance and peace that was portrayed by Sigur Ros on 2012’s Valtari, coincidentally also featuring some oceanic stylings on the cover. Half Seas Over spends its relatively short running time spanning the possibilities of the major key, weaving beautiful churchy atmospherics from violins, voice and piano together into a cold but bright tapestry. Chord changes are steady and light and easy like a Sontag morgen.
Home Normal seems like the natural abode for this type of ambient record, with fellow artists Chihei Hatakeyama, Konntinent and particularly Wil Bolton’s Bokeh recently exhibiting similar lovely watery textures for your tired ears. So yes, come float along and worship in the celestial church of Olan.
[The word ‘churchy’ © Ian Love 2015]
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- Half Seas Over by Olan Mill
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