OLIVIA DE LANZAC-UNCUT.
OLIVIA DE LANZAC-UNCUT.
For Olivia De Lanzac, whose new digital album Uncut has just been released by BBE Music, her musical journey has seen her cross two continents and live in three countries. Olivia was born in the Congo, brought up in Greece and now, is based in London. This journey has influenced Olivia’s musical career and her work as an artist and producer. Uncut is best described as a genre-crossing collection of compelling and eclectic tracks. It’s almost as if everything Olivia has released and everyone she has collaborated with, have influenced the nine tracks on Uncut. So Olivia’s life, the people she’s worked and collaborated with have influenced her music. However, there’s a third influence. This other influence is the label Olivia is now signed to, BBE Music. The music BBE Music have released has influenced and shaped her musical tastes. Like Uncut, BBE Music’s releases are best described as eclectic. Indeed, for anyone trying to categorize BBE Music’s releases, eclectic is a good description. They’ve prided themselves on releasing quality, eclectic music for over fifteen years. It seems that Olivia De Lanzac and BBE Music are a musical marriage made in heaven. Is that the case? That’s what I’ll tell you, when I tell you about the music on Uncut. Before that, I’ll tell you about Olivia’s career so far.
Before to embarking on a solo career, Olivia De Lanzac was a member of Quad Throw Salchow. They released their debut single Unwelcome Guest in 2006, on Try Science Records. A year later, Olivia embarked on her solo career. She released her debut single Baby Let’s Play House Parts 1 and 2 in 2007, for Tony Carrasco’s Multitronix label. In 2008, Olivia released two further singles, Hush and Steppin’ N2 Rhythm. 2008 proved to be a busy year for Olivia, with Quad Throw Salchow releasing their second single. Chrome September was released on the Tummy Touch label, who’d release their only album Speed in 2009. Speed was Quad Throw Salchow’s only album. The next album Olivia would feature on, would be her debut album.
Olivia released her debut solo album Baby Let’s Play House in 2010, on Multitronix. Let’s Play House was be a digital only release, but allowed Olivia’s music to reach a wider audience. Following the release of her debut album, Olivia’s next project was a collaboration with Marlon D. This included remastering sessions for Marlon D’s Afrika Vs. NYC. The next step on Olivia De Lanzac’s musical odyssey was recording the followup to Baby Let’s Play House
Following the collaboration with Marlon D, Olivia decided to concentrate on her solo career. She set about recording her sophomore album Uncut. In total, nine tracks were recorded, where Olivia journeys through genres and influences. Funk, soul, ambient and Latin music all come to the fore during Uncut, which I’ll now tell you about.
Opening Uncut is Sketches of Blue, where hip hope and ambient combine. As the track opens, it’s like eavesdropping on a conversation. It’s just two guys having a conversation. Soon, a pounding, funky bass, crunchy drumbeats and stabs of keyboards combine. Later, synths that remind me of nineties ambient music and bursts of horns enter. They all play their part in creating a spacious, moody soundscape. It takes its influences from hip hop, ambient music and seventies funk. There’s a Nightmares On Wax sound to the track. It’s not unlike Smoker’s Delight and Car Boot Soul, with its mellow, laid-back and smokey sound that washes over you.
Get Free picks up where Sketches of Blue left off. It has a space, moody and mellow sound. Crispy beats, stabs of vocal and percussion and joined by wistful bursts of horns. Filters are added, as the track’s gloriously repetitive sound draws you. Later, as delay is added, as the vocal encourages you to “Get Free.” The track takes on a spacey sound, washes of keyboards and a pounding bass joining drums, percussion and occasional scratches. Bursts of horns and handclaps are just the finishing touch to what is a truly innovative ambient soundscape. It takes the best of nineties and noughties ambient music, and gives it a makeover, with a little help from funk and hip hop.
The title-track Uncut sees Olivia throw something of a curveball. When bursts of keyboards and synths combine, the name Brian Eno springs to mind. Only momentarily though. Pounding, galloping beats take charge, grabbing your attention. Percussion, snippets of vocals and samples combine with stabs of keyboards. There’s everything from early hip hop, jazz and ambient music thrown into the melting pot. Later, the track takes on a eerie, haunting sound before heading back in the direction of hip hop. Surprises, subtleties and suspense all play their part in this compelling, dramatic soundscape.
Gasoline Rainbow sees a change in style and sound. It’s a much slower track, the tempo dropping way down to eighty beats per minute. Dramatic bursts of crunchy drum are joined by brief washes of Acid House synths. They provide a contrast, while a pounding bass adds to the drama. By then, you can hear a slight drum and bass influence. Repeated stabs of warm, melodic keyboards add another layer, as delay and filters transform the sound. Later, there’s even a Sly and Robbie influence, before drama and subtlety combine. Soon, the track begins to sound like something from the soundtrack to seventies Cold War spy thriller. Drama and tension courtesy of Olivia De Lanzac’s unfolds.
Slow, spacious and moody are just some of the words that could describe We Got All Nit’. It’s a track that meanders along, springing subtleties and surprises aplenty. Haunting vocals drenched in delay join dubby drums and synths. They create a track that’s moody, spacey and dubby. Dub reggae meets ambient music. Olivia takes you on surreal, mystical musical journey, where you can loose yourself in the slow beats and mysterious music.
As Maani reveals its charms and delights, it’s as if you’ve been transported halfway round the world to India. Again the music conjurs pictures and scenarios in your mind. Here, as two continent’s music unite seamlessly and beautifully. Western and Indian music are fused. Crispy beats, synths and myriad of Indian drums percussion combine. The finishing touch is an ethereal vocal, that’s hauntingly beautiful. It drifts in and out, before rasping horns make a brief appearance. When all this is combined, the result is a hauntingly beautiful and quite wistful track, where two continent’s music unites.
After a wash of moody synths, The Spanish Monk bursts into life. Thunderous drums, percussion and bass take you on a journey where influences so diverse as jazz, drum and bass, Latin and ambient music combine. A haunting vocal, floats above the arrangement, as the track reveal its many sides and influences. Later, there’s a Latin sound and feel to the music. The more you listen to the track, the more you hear. Influences and layers of music reveal themselves as Olivia seamlessly fuses influences and genres to create one mesmeric track.
As Thaeneb begins, you’re reminded of crispy, crackly vinyl. It’s not unlike listening to an old album playing. To that, add a distant, industrial sound. It gradually creeps up on you. However, it’s also a combination of contrasts and layers of music. Warm, melodic keyboards meander along, as the track takes on a dreamy, ambient sound. This ambient sound never leaves. Resistance is impossible. Memories come flooding back. You’re attracted to this warm, melodic slice of ambient music, not just for the memories it provokes, but for its dreamy, melancholy sound.
Closing Uncut is Pyrexia, which sees quick, crispy beats and warm, melodic keyboards are joined by a sassy, feisty vocal. Again the sound of crackly vinyl is replicated, and used throughout the track. This gives the song a vintage sound, as do the effects used on Olivia’s vocal. They’re really effective, as are the old school beats. Just stabs of keyboards, drums and backing vocals accompany Olivia’s vocal, while effects are used, heightening the drama. During a breakdown, the track takes on minimalist sound, before Olivia rebuilds the arrangement. She ensures Uncut ends on a dramatic, memorable musical high.
Earlier, I mentioned that Olivia De Lanzac’s sophomore album Uncut is an eclectic album. Indeed, describing Uncut as an eclectic album is almost an understatement. There’s everything from funk, hip hop, ambient, jazz, Latin, dub, drum and bass and Indian music. Apart from genres, the influences on Uncut are just as plentiful. Nightmares On Wax, Sly and Robbie, Brian Eno, Massive Attack and Leftfield all spring to mind. Then there’s nineties and noughties ambient music, which is given a makeover and transformation. In many ways Uncut is dreamy, sometimes dramatic soundscape which is moody, broody and often, beautiful and mesmeric. The best way of describing Uncut, is an intricate musical tapestry, where layer upon layer of music is weaved together by Olivia. These became nine mini soundscapes or ambient symphonies form Uncut, which has been released by BBE Music, as a digital only release. This is quite fitting, because Olivia De Lanzac’s sophomore album Uncut is as eclectic as the music BBE Music have prided themselves on releasing for over fifteen years. Standout Tracks: Sketches of Blue, Get Free, Maani and The Spanish Monk.
OLIVIA DE LANZAC-UNCUT.