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Olan Mill's Alex Smalley made his new album 'Curves' before and after his trip to Myanmar at the tail end of 2016. At the time, Smalley was looking forward to becoming a father and moving to Germany; it therefore chronicles a story of personal upheaval with all the feelings you'd expect to come with such milestone events. Built using field recordings made at home and in various work locations and layered with processed guitar, synths and voice. Both a reflection and reflective. Very limited number of CDs, with handmade artwork and hand-numbered organic packaging.

Limited CD £12.49

Limited edition CD, professionally manufactured high quality CDr's, limited to 50 copies. Handmade artwork, each hand numbered. Brown Kraft, organic wallets with envelopes. Photos, foil bag..

  • Limited edition
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Curves by Olan Mill
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Jamie 18 September 2018

Olan Mill’s Alex Smalley has been quietly but surely making himself known to us at Norman and to you, our literally thousands of customers, for -- ooh, I don’t know -- years now. His unique brand of woozy neoclassical ambience is a potent one and prompts sell-out releases, time after time. On ‘Curves’, however, for the often delightful Shimmering Moods label this time, Smalley has gone full-tilt emotional drone. Atmospheres are heavy and pregnant with meaning; when this CD is on the air around you seems instantly infinitely more dense. It won’t take long to tune into this addictive flow of ideas coming out of your speakers either, and your senses will become acutely keener (especially if listening at night, I imagine).

At the time of recording, Smalley was also attempting to navigate several life-changing milestones -- and this becomes apparent in the general feel of the record, as a brooding intensity spreads from the moment you hit the 'play' button. As ever, Smalley’s work is imbued with a low-lying sense of patient calm but a lurking unease is never far away, reaching peak anxiety midway through the long-form (30 minutes plus) ‘Straight mix’. The track is imbued with a cohesive thread linking individual components, field recordings blending in and melting away with the other organic sounds (textural detail is high and not easy to break down, even during headphone listening).

Other sounds are even more abstract if less densely layered; there’s a strong sense of the steadfastly architectural about the way the record plays out, yet the drones flow steadily and the dissonance is lustrously saturated. Very good, file under ‘highly involving’. Please. Also, it's a bit like a Stars Of The Lid record yet with a f*ck-ton of dread heaped upon it.


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