Polish-born and York-based Ola Szmidt offers uniquely soulful dream-music. Threading vocal improvisations through exquisitely constructed musical loops, she deliver a delicious melange of sound. Sit back, relax and be transported to somewhere blissfully strange through her debut album, EP1. Headphones are definitely recommended.
Before you read on, Ola Szmidt is giving a FREE download of “Autumn”, from the album, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
Opening track “Autumn”, atmospheric and absorbing, introduces Szmidt’s mesmerising vocals, arranged with artistry that seems simple through subtle complexity. Moving on, “Satellites” provides a more conventional song structure. Szmidt’s emotionally-charged vocals range through stripped-back acoustic guitar, telling of people, places and connections.
Darkly foreboding, “Rumianek” echoes with cavernous resonance. Trapping a journey within two and a half minutes of sound-art, this track showcases Szmidt’s capacity to tell a story through minimal sound, placed to perfection.
“Wrapped” is introduced through Szmidt’s native Polish. Crystal clear acapella and intricately looped vocalisations support a song of love lost. Drifting on softly breaking waves of sound, this is music to calm the soul.
Barely more than an interlude, “Bass One” is intimately authentic, drawing listeners into a space occupied by Szmidt, her instrument and her voice, through the simplest of recordings. Almost eavesdropping, there is an integrity to the track that defies the need for production.
Closing the EP with intriguingly psychedelic moments, “Moja” blends Polish lyrics with experimental soundscapes. Introducing woodwind, pipes and delicate percussion, Szmidt gives a tantalising glimpse of her musical depth.
Describing her music as shifting between Scandinavian and Eastern Folk traditions and infusing soul, jazz, contemporary classical and ambient practices, Szmidt’s eclectic influences combine to create a distinctive style that is uniquely her own. Rare yet refreshing in a world crowded with sound-alike artists, Szmidt has the courage to create and the capability to carry it off.
Ola Szmidt produced and self-released EP1 on December 1st 2017. It was compiled and mastered by Kieran Hebden and has come to the attention of BBC Radio 6 listeners through Lauren Laverne, Giles Peterson and Tom Robinson, as well as receiving airplay on BBC Radio 1 via Annie Mac and Phil Taggart.
Ola’s advice to anyone just starting out with their music is both patient and practical:
Treat your music like a root of the tree, let it grow slowly, don’t rush. Don’t fall into social media hypes and don’t compare yourself to others. Be kind and supportive towards other musicians. If music, lyrics or melody does not come to you when you want it = your mind need either more stimulation or resting, What I mean by that? There is time to rest and time to feed mind: listen to music, read, watch movies, travel and time when your soul screams to say something, so don’t put pressure on yourself, you want to enjoy the journey.
To be happy find a balance between time to create music vs admin vs family vs friends vs “me time”= very important!
Be kind to yourself. Eat and sleep well. Follow instincts and impulses not trends.
Keep your throat protected by adapting to different environmental factors and keep hydrated.
Educate yourself about Bandcamp (Digital and Physical Distribution, Shipping Costs), PRS, PRS Foundation PPL and Musicians Union and make accounts with them.
Get your copy of EP1 here.
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