Sea Oleena
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Sea Oleena

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
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Our resident singles scavenger put Montreal’s Sea Oleena on our radar a few weeks ago, and we were so taken by her gorgeously layered, ethereal tunes that we had to hear more from her. Sea Oleena is the relatively new project of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Charlotte Loseth, who manages to weave an airy sentimentality with a familiar rootsy feel. It’s like folk music that plays as the soundtrack to your dreams; think Iron & Wine meets Beach House.

Sea Oleena released her Smudges EP back in April via Bandcamp and went back to fine-tune the EP with the help of her brother Luke, who produced the self-titled incarnation and who added some backup vocals to a few of the updated tracks.

Smudges is an appropriate title since Sea Oleena’s songs exist in a kind of fuzzy, soft around the edges space that is hard to pin down. The haze of songs like “Swimming Story” and “Island Cottage” is transporting in a surprisingly natural way; there’s an ease and effortlessness that lulls you to another place almost unconsciously. A deeply calming and comforting wave comes over you when listening to her EP, and the songs embed themselves in your head, staying with you long after you’ve removed your headphones.

You know that experience of meeting someone new but you feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s how listening to Sea Oleena feels. - Darrick Thomas


L'un des plus grands pouvoirs que je puisse attribuer à la musique est celui de me transporter vers d'autres mondes tous différents les uns des autres. Charlotte Loseth alias Sea Oleena remplit à merveille cette mission d'évasion. La jeune et discrète québécoise est un coup de foudre de l'an passé grâce à ses deux ep's : son ébauche Smudges (en avril 2010) et sa copie définitive éponyme (en juin 2010) qui se sont vite imposés des trésors musicaux fragiles et hors du temps à chérir.

L'univers dream pop cosy de la demoiselle a enchanté mes oreilles à de nombreuses reprises mais aujourd'hui je suis désormais en extase avec la sortie en avril 2011 de son nouveau mini Lp Sleeplessness. Toujours aidée de son collaborateur et frère Felix Green qui assure notamment le mixage et la co-production, Sea Oleena arrive réellement à transporter l'auditeur en apesanteur tant les sonorités, qu'elle développe le long de l'opus, s'avèrent belles, sensuelles, pures et éthérées. Moi, je dis que cela vaut un 16,5/20. - Saab


Charlotte Loseth, aka Sea Oleena, made quite a name for herself last year. As the year went on, she went from YouTube cover star to recording her own beautiful songs to getting featured on sites such as Altered Zones and Pitchfork (and of course, our very own). And for good reason. The songs on her debuts were full of beautiful, sweeping, and sometimes haunting atmosphere, sending you into a most pleasant dream-like state. Needless to say, when her and her brother announced that she’d be releasing a new album, Sleeplessness, sometime in April last month, we all got quite excited. After checking her bandcamp page daily for the whole month, it finally came out on the 13th, we were immediately listening.

Thankfully for us, her artistry has only continued to improve, as have her brother’s production skills. The result is even more haunting and ethereal than her debuts, especially since once again, it’s a fairly short album at just seven songs. Nevertheless, the album is one of the most affecting albums of the year, and as such, is absolutely one of the best.

Sleeplessness kicks off with “Southbound”, a lovely, piano-based track that also serves as the brightest song tone-wise on the album. The piano repeatedly goes through a simple chord progression with various samples and percussion helping to build up the momentum while Charlotte’s voice floats on top as beautifully as ever. From there, the album starts to take on a bit of a darker tone. The minor keys, layered vocals and instruments, and occasional samples all add together to create a foggy, night-like atmosphere for the listener to float through. It’s only fitting, considering so many of the lyrics on the album revolve around the desire for sleep, the inability to do so, or the act itself.

The album floats along beautifully, as though you are trapped in the foggy musings of a rainy day, as you slowly move towards the climax, the especially moody tracks “Sister” and “Milk”. “Sister” starts off fairly similarly to many of the other tracks, with acoustic guitar and Charlotte’s voice covered in a mist, until a couple chords start in on the piano, when things take a turn for the dramatic. Gentle “ooh”s come in to create a truly haunting harmony, with the piano chiming in from time to time, just enough to create subtle tension that pulls at you as you listen. By the time she gets to the line “Take a walk in the crystal city”, you have chills running up and down your spine from the stunning tones.

“Milk” then greets the listener with some gorgeous piano, before moving into a stark landscape with the chords abruptly cutting off to some subtly picked guitar and sparse percussion, while Charlotte instructs you to wake up from your sleep, which she certainly manages to do. As she seemingly contemplates the mechanical motions of everyday life so many go through, she creates an achingly gorgeous song that is certainly anything but ordinary.

As Sleeplessness closes with the incredibly atmospheric “Orion’s Eyes”, you’re left longing for more. The journey through the album is far too short, although you get the feeling that any amount of time would have been. But maybe that’s one of the many beauties of her work. To this point, her releases have all been fairly short, but they still make you feel as though you’ve been on an incredible journey with her through forests and mountains, rain, snow, and sun, before finally reaching the shoreline and realizing that although your travels have come to an end, there’s still so much more to come. And so we wait for the next installment in Sea Oleena’s journey, breathless from the last, but more than ready to pack up and head out right away.

9.7/10 - Scott Hoelzer


Discography

Smudges EP
Sea Oleena (self-titled) EP
Sleeplessness LP

All tracks are available to stream and download at http://seaoleena.bandcamp.com

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Bio

Charlotte Loseth created Sea Oleena from a sudden rush of inspiration and an old guitar with a missing string in the last days of a long winter.

Her first EP, 'Smudges', was put together in a sort of desperation and without too much attention to detail and released mid-March 2010. Her brother Luke, who makes his own music under the name Felix Green, offered to produce the songs, which were then released a few months later in the form of Sea Oleena's self-titled EP. The proceeding winter found Charlotte at work again on her latest release, 'Sleeplessness', this time featuring a balance in the production between herself and her brother.

With a widespread, scattered following of listeners, an unexpected number of lovely reviews, and a slowly growing ease behind the microphone, Charlotte is ready to experience and explore the wide world of live performing, from basement bars to concert halls.