Sympathetic UK label Serein did great job with Nest "Retold" CD, here comes another very interesting and promising act, Olan Mill, consisting of Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko. Alex and Svitlana are carefully blending treated sounds of various acoustic instruments like violin, piano, pipe organ and guitar into highly sensitive and serene neo-classical infused ambient soundscapes. "Pine" album opens joyfully with ethereal pearl "Spare Smoke Template" introducing both artists at the top of their craftiness, a truly evocative composition! Rain drops and violin lead the next piece, "Country", it's strongly melancholic piece with nice interplays of piano, violin and drones, towards the end delving into very quiet tune. Warm "Disempowered" keeps on similar tracks with slightly evolving and more massive orchestrated-like sounds, this composition has a very strong cinematic feel, certainly another extraordinary performance! Intense intro on "A Heavy Leg Cycle" soon traverses into more evocative terrain with rich sonic palettes, really attractive! Title track "Pine" is centered around minimal and expressive piano, afterward again enriched with another masterful performance on violin. Without doubt one of the most touching compositions on the album and it's a pity, it clocks to nearly 3 minutes only! "Postponed Mindfulness" is shorter droning piece, while the next one, "An Obedient Ear", is another richly build ever-changing texture. Deeply emotional "The Prescribed Individual" is painted with minimally sounding sorrowful piano lead and sensitive violin support. This strongly evocative and dreamlike mood wraps also the next piece, "Cotton Access". "Flume" is dominated by attractive interaction of resonant and tranquilized drones and silence with few distorted sounds slipped into, deeply absorbing outro! Subtle 6-panel digipak packaging nicely portrays highly imaginative soundscapes of its talented and refined creators. Even if the album duration reaches 35 minutes only, "Pine" is unquestionably another very strong release from Serein label. Really nice debut, Alex and Svitlana!!!
Richard Gürtler (Bratislava, Slovakia)