Olan Mill – Paths
‘Paths’, the new album from Olan Mill, sees the unashamedly romantic music of Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko moving away from piano based vignettes towards broader compositions of processed guitar, pipe organ and violin. The album displays a striking economy of instrumentation that is the logical progression from their earnest neo-classical debut ‘Pine’, released on Serein in 2010.
The focus of ‘Paths’ is the manipulation of boundaries, a direction embarked on more by necessity than choice – reconciling the ambition of an orchestra with the limitations of a duo. The restraint in sound stems from a foray into the previously unexplored realm of live performance – the pair also admitting they were “supporting some serious piano dentists and we were never up to their kind of surgery, so it was as much a white flag maneuver as it was artistic decision”.
‘Paths’ represents a growth in both sound and style, with each song possessing its own identity within the record – the exploration of both structure and composition revealing new events each time the listener delves into the immersive narrative of their communication.
The end result is a richer harmonic sound field, intended to physically move an audience as much as it aimed to devastate them emotionally. The six pieces were captured from two live performances in Bristol and Reading in late 2010, and have been sewn together from the multi-track recordings into a run of 300 limited edition 180gm vinyl mastered by Shawn Hatfield. This release is presented with a 4 panel letter pressed CD, a booklet written by Olan Mill in collaboration with Alexander Ross Petersen, limited edition 12×12 prints, A2 poster and interconnected artwork by Jurgen Heckel. All collated in the characteristic hand stamped, sealed and numbered Facture fashion.
Direct and melodic without the obsession of minimalism, ‘Paths’ is an honest and engaging account of both melancholy and euphoria.
Limited Edition Of 300 Includes:
* 180 gm Pure virgin vinyl encased in 300 gm heavy matt FSC sustainable board printed using vegetable-based inks with black inner sleeves
* Letter pressed four panel / glass mastered CD
* ‘On Rainbow Corner’ booklet by Vincent Vocoder, voice for Olan Mill
* 12 x 12 Bespoke print hand numbered on 260 gm card stock
* A2 Bespoke double sided photographic poster on 190 gm uncoated stock
* Letter pressed download code
* Hand numbered/Sealed
* Wrapped in luxury soft tissue
Release Date: May 25th 2012
Restraint and understatement are the operative words here, as the duo constantly focuses on striking the right balance between emotional expression and economic presentation. – Album of the month at Textura
Put simply, Paths is a triumph in ambient music. Olan Mill gives the powerful melodies space and room to breathe naturally, so that each listen reveals more, transporting feelings deep into the sub-conscious. – The Silent Ballet
There is no doubt that though Olan Mill’s overall sound is one of sobriety, pause, and deep emotional memory, it expresses a desire to connect, to break down barriers in the listener’s mind. Above all Paths is ridiculously gorgeous and cannot be missed by the lovers and poets of the listening world. – A Closer Listen
The boundary separating individual components, and individual performers, dissolves, as each element merges with its neighbour, single cello lines splitting into multi-tracked doubles, overlapped triples, before uniting as one dense sound. – Cyclic Defrost
If for whatever reason you made me pick one word to describe Olan Mill’s Path album, I’d have to go with “rich”. Rich, as Merriam-Webster defines it “full and mellow in tone and quality.” This, completely. Simple and delicate, but beautiful and nuanced. This is what I want to call modern classical. – To Eleven
These 6 pieces are almost see-through in places, translucent washes of sound that spread broadly like the upper reaches of the atmosphere. – The Liminal
‘Paths’ keeps on dragging me into its world. Maybe it is the short length of the entire album (the whole thing clocks in at about half an hour). Or perhaps it is the amount of pure love infused into these tracks. Either way, ‘Paths’ is a lovely album that truly gives a good name to the genre ‘ambient’. – Beach Sloth
Profoundly beautiful. This was my initial impression of “paths” by Olan Mill. It is a profoundly beautiful merging of ambient and neo-classical instrumentation… with an elegance and grace that simply has to be experienced to be believed. – Future Elements
As stated in the release notes, the record intended to “physically move an audience as much as it aimed to devastate them emotionally.” Can’t get more honest than that, after hearing ‘Springs’ I say mission accomplished! – Sounds Better With Reverb
Neo-classical music with successive sections of wind instruments, piano and field recordings, creates beautiful moments that hint at delicate images and nostalgic overtones. – Loop
Placid symphonic trembling of virginal strings, luminous heavenly choirs and puffed pipe organ, the kind of stuff which can act as a soundtrack for slow motion sequences. – Chain D.L.K
Paths is a deep immersion of shadowy, melancholy beauty: lush, emotive strings; entangled piano lines; dense processed drones. – Electronic Music Mall
Olan Mill’s sound is somewhat comparable to the sound of the Stars of the Lid and A Winged Victory for the Sullen and will definitely appeal to the same audience. – Ambient Blog
If you thought that Pine, debut album by Olan Mill, was lush and utterly emotive and couldn’t be more romantic, their forthcoming sophomore full-length Paths (Fac-ture) proves you wrong. – Music Addicted