On magical day 10 May 2010, Olan Mill released their first artist album over on the exquisite Serein label. Olan Mill’s album entitled “Pine” is a cinematic masterpiece of ballads and heartfelt piano strings that intensely plays with human emotion. Olan Mill is Alex Smalley + Svitlana Samoylenko; producers of this wonderful one of a kind masterpiece album.
When listening to a truly beautiful production from Serein & Olan Mill, you can be 100% sure they did proper honor to a lovely graphic design job for artwork, the music is of the highest cinematic quality; I do not think it is possible for someone to turn down the lulls of Serein’s beautiful modern classical ambient electronic music.
Olan Mill – Pine
Label/Cat#: Serein – SERE002
Year: 10 May 2010
Genre: Electronic, Classical
Style: Modern Classical, Ambient
Format: CD, Album
1. Spare Smoke Template (02:58)
2. Country (05:04)
3. Disempowered (04:19)
4. A Heavy Leg Cycle (02:01)
5. Pine (02:45)
6. Postponed Mindfulness (01:54)
7. An Obedient Ear (04:04)
8. The Prescribed Individual (02:55)
9. Cotton Access (03:05)
10. Flume (05:38)
Total length: 34:43
Review by AG – October 9th, 2018
“Spare Smoke Template” begins with oscillating strings and twinkling dynamics as the intro to Olan Mill’s forward-thinking and trend setting “Pine,” which is central to the foundation of aesthetics, further inspiration of artists on the Serein music label as the second full length album that was released on Serein in 2010. Only to be predated by virtuoso project Nest for Serein’s first full length release. “Country” paints the mind of a listener to a stormy, rainy day of hazy yesteryear and reveals dramatic emotional strings to slowly unfold the cinematic beauty before us over a laid back central oscillation of vibrant melodious sounds. As the rain continunes, in “Disempowered” we witness a whooshing of sound effects to open up this triumphant track. Later, heartfelt piano strings slowly join over sedated beat patterns to reveal a central melody of beauty through piano chords. “Disempowered” is a perfect example of the high quality emotive cinematic sound Serein has been signing for years now…
Almost halfway into the album, “A Heavy Leg Cycle” opens up with roaring and rupturing sound turbulence through airy melodic soul-evoking chords, a true serene experience through experimental sounds. At the halfway point of Olan Mill’s Serein debut, Mill reveals a secret weapon: light pianos soar in the clouds to the introduction of a piano ballad; the piano chords are fluffy, precious, and precisely engineered to cause emotion for the listener through sheer harmonious beauty through a careful sonic journey. “Postponed Mindfulness” opens with angelic vocal samples that become atmospheric ambiance, or perhaps a sense of excitement and anticipation. As more instrumental sounds slowly emerge over this dramatic pause of mindfulness, the beautiful “An Obedient Ear” strikes us by surprise. “An Obedient Ear” holds the listener at aural suspense through a journey of blissful, uplifting chords, only to be surprised two small notes at the end of the track. “The Prescribed Individual” continues the “Pine” journey with airy harmonically fluctuating piano ballads and a large amount of fortissimo dynamics in between a large amount of crescendo and diminuendo battles for dominance. “Cotton Access” once again begins our sonic journey into the unknown, teasing familiar subtle piano downtempo notes and atmospheric ambiance inside another emotive ballad. “Flume” concludes the album with firm piano notes, and dramatic deafening crescendo work to show sound through sonic emotion and teasing familiar chords heard earlier on in the album.
A must listen for cinematic music lovers of any genre. The piano work contained in “Pine” is second to none, with attached harmony and beautiful exciting moments.
More info (thanks Serein!): 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.
Chief among the reasons for this grand, lush sound is the lavish approach to production taken by Olan Mill. Sounds are heavily dosed with slowly decaying reverb which gives an almost slow motion effect to proceedings. In stark contrast to the dirge-like soundscapes created by organ and guitar, muted violin phrases pick out startlingly beautiful melodies, the drones often giving way entirely to cascades of layered piano and violin.
‘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. As a result, you will find yourself coming back to this album time and again for those brief moments of indefinable beauty.
Support Serein / Olan Mill: https://www.serein.co.uk