If angels made drone folk.
Sea Oleena is one of my random finds on Bandcamp from years ago. I actually misclicked on another artist and ended up on her page by accident. The rest, as they say, is history. Sea Oleena creates meditative, often drone-like, folk music. Soft, meticulous and with the tiniest splash of creepy, ‘Weaving A Basket’ weaves a dream state over the listener and lulls them into the sea.
The album falls into two dream categories. The opening two tracks are water coloured brushes of fluffy drone synths and Sea Oleena’s voice on the wind and waves. ‘Calvisius’ in particular is superb at creating a delicate feminine warmth as the vocals soothe you in the lamenting drones. From there, the album brings in acoustic guitar, minimal bass and a sound palette of water, earth and background wind and traffic. It is minimalist by design but the slow pace and hypnotic nature of every song makes it feel like you are listening to folk music through a sea shell at times.
Without doubt, the centrepiece of the album is the ten-minute ‘Gardens’, although all the songs can more than grapple with your heartstrings. ‘Gardens’ is special as it rounds up everything Sea Oleena does so well and lays it into an album within an album. With gentle garden sounds, a mirage of acoustic guitar slowly drifts in whilst her voice hushes you and soothes you with its many layers. The track then slowly dissolves from acoustic guitar to a distant funfair like a mirage over several minutes as a beautiful outro. This trick of letting a track morph from one thing to another slowly – almost unnoticed at first by the listener – is repeated throughout the album. Each time she does it, it is delicately stunning.
‘Weaving A Basket’ isn’t an album that will be getting everyone chatting about it – its too unassuming and deceptively low key. However, it takes an awful lot of confidence and design work to stay that minimalistic and utterly captivate and command with your music. Sea Oleena can do this in spades across the album and without noticing, turns in one of the loveliest and dreamiest albums of the year.
Recommended track: Gardens
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