Boomkat Product Review:
Pine is the debut release from the soundscaping duo of Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko, who compose and record together as Olan Mill. Using the manipulated sounds of violin, piano, pipe organ an guitar these two musicians introduce themselves with 'Spare Smoke Template', which at first brings to mind the slowcore elegance you'd associate with Stars Of The Lid - diverting a pseudo-classical palette of instruments towards a droning, harmonious soundscape. 'Country' immediately capitalises on this form with an even more discerning take on the same sound, swelling in symphonic ambient waves over a cinematic five minutes. With material like this it's easy to lose sense of what the USP might be - there are, afterall, so many home-listening opuses of this ilk released every week, many of which conform to a similarly high standard. What sets this act apart from the herd is the more naked and exposed usage of live instruments, which contributes to a greater sense of melodic flexibility and all-round musicianship. It's when the live instruments disentangle themselves from the larger, droning soundmass that the record proves to be most interesting, and when strings and piano emerge clearly from the reverberant, church setting of the recording there's a level of unearthly loveliness to all this that transcends the norm: 'Disempowered' is a thing of glacial, patient loveliness, and similarly, the cavernous resonance of 'An Obedient Ear' and 'Pine' are hard to resist. Recommended.