Friday, December 28, 2012

Sea Oleena-Sleeplessness (2011)

Whether or not music contains lyrics, it is as much a medium of artistic expression as literature, dance, or sculpture.  It is my opinion that artists should try new ideas and to push the limits of genre classification.  The harder it is to classify a certain artist, the more artistic that artist tends to be.

Sea Oleena (otherwise known as Charlotte Oleena) has released two LPs that are, in my opinion, as a whole greater than the sum of their parts.  What you hear is ambient distortion, cool electronic production and silken, bluesy vocals that serve as the staples of the music. 

Oleena, of Montreal, calls herself an ambient blues musician, and while these two styles would seem to clash, creating a disjointed listening experience, the two mesh much better than one could imagine.  The music she writes and performs is about organic visual perception as much as it is an outward expression of inward emotion. 

Contrary to most ambient music, "Sleeplessness" contains both memorable and recognizable melodies that manage to shine clear through a misty wash of electronic reverb.  As the term suggests, the ambient portion of the music supplies the beautiful, sparse atmospherics, while Oleena's gloomy vocals provide a spark of blues-oriented rhythm and a simple melody.  Even on a casual first listen, the music is difficult not to sing along to.  In its own way it is catchy, but at the same time honest and soulful.

The textures present in this music are varied and deep.  The visuals are breathtaking and the emotions true and serene.  In many ways this is an incredibly unique listen.  It stays in the head of the listener for hours after the short seven tracks have faded to silence, leaving one comtemplative and restless.  It is this quality of all else that makes this record a standout.

While this album is not patently new, it was a recent new discovery for me.  Sea Oleena is a criminally underrated artist that deserves support.  Through her bandcamp page, she is offering both "Sleeplessness" and her 2010 self-titled debut as name-your-price downloads.  There is no minimum, but if you have the means, please donate a few bucks to help keep her producing new music. 

If you like music with no boundaries, you will love both of Oleena's albums.  I enjoyed both of them very much and can whole-heartedly recommend them to you.  Check out the full stream of "Sleeplessness" courtesy of the Sea Oleena bandcamp page below.  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy!

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