Galya Bisengalieva – Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive – One Little Independent Records

In a way everything becomes a soundtrack. You only need to be awake to hear it surround you. In this instance the series of pieces making up the album are set to accompany freediver Johanna Nordblad as she tries to break the world record for distance swam under ice containing one breath of air. Directed by Ian Derry for Netflix what becomes rapidly apparent are the elements of suspense and danger in attempting to reach such an incredible goal.

The score consists of combinations of piercing yet rousing strings, layers of atmospheric drones along with synthesized swirls plus recorded natural sounds to accompany the breath simulating the journey. It’s a stunning listen reflecting determination and commitment while also capturing the organic nature of endeavour, which at the same time casts an unnerving presence to watch over events. It is also about resolution and positivity as moments become crystal clear seeking to uplift your spirit. At others they become the polar opposite. Just like life is.

Release: July 22

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Sarah Neufeld – Detritus – One Little Independent Records

Perhaps you can take it leave it. I couldn’t because as time passes by the less I care about getting stuck by formula, expectation, or certainly what fits in where given the almost absurd amount of musical genres you are supposed to experience nowadays. I’m interested in Artists because they create Art, but not beholden to them. The primary thing has always been the sounds themselves and how/ what they communicate to you. Sarah Neufeld’s album is a golden reflection of all of the above being self-defining as well as intensely emotional soaring to heights, diving for pearls. Whether that’s contained within the haunting sadness accompanying Reflection, Stories and or the more challenging, concluding Detritus the free flowing stream of instrumentation and wash of voices is most rewarding. However, the tracks including drums don’t fit as well for me for some reason. I guess they pull thoughts in different directions, feeling somehow more traditionally Rock orientated, while not carving out quite the same golden niche such as Stories below…

Release: May 14


Gabríel Ólafs – Piano Works – One Little Independent Records

A signature of life is written by each strike of Gabríel Ólafs keys as you engage heart and soul with what is being played. It is a simple enough formula, one man and a piano but it is also beautifully potent to the nth degree. You get the feeling that this is every movie, every painting, every force of nature you have witnessed all rolled into one, or thereabouts. There is of course a haunting quality to the lone accompaniment as notes and atmospheres resolve into the air, but not before leaving their indelible impression. In complex days like these this simplicity is compelling, necessary even. The music does expand slightly with Loa and engineer Bergur Thorisson has done a sterling job of enhancement. You may also get the sense that this is all sounds familiar, like a lifetime of experience and yet you can’t quite pit your finger on exactly why….

Release: June 26