Olan Mill: Hiraeth
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CD / Digital
Design by Mark Gowing
The Preservation label presents Hiraeth, the fourth album from Hampshire’s Olan Mill. The work of composer and instrumentalist Alex Smalley and following on from 2012’s much acclaimed Home, Olan Mill continues to seek a higher plane of consciousness through grand and textured composition. Variously compared to the likes of Richard Skelton, Maurice Jarre and Vangelis, where Home sought to essay the life-affirming, worldly joy of travel, Hiraeth is a movingly yearning work for a lost sense of place. A Welsh word with no direct translation in English, ‘Hiraeth’ is defined as homesickness for a home to which you cannot return. This is a beautiful meditation on nature irretrievably lost over time and as The Liminal wrote on Home: “Smalley can rightly be added to the list of successful composers who’ve managed to not only be inspired by nature, but accurately communicate it as well” With the resonance of folk melody through lilting piano and guitar and the symphonic reach of strings and soprano voice, the deep focus of Hiraeth is revealed through both intimate detail and sweeping revelations of sound. Whether through a pursuit of travel or the changing face of his native surrounds, Smalley conveys the momentum of transition through the surge and flow of his music with unerring force.