‘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 slab of 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 12x12 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.