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OLAN (real name Luzana Flores) is proud to release her debut album ‘Contra’, out now via independent record label Anjunadeep. The release follows three powerful singles; ‘Wake And Return’, ‘Promise To Keep’, and ‘Ultraviolet’ which have garnered support from the likes of KCRW, Jody Wisternoff, Dosem, Eelke Kleijn, Made In Paris, Steven Weston, and Braxton to name a few.
The culmination of many months in solitude, ‘Contra’ began as a natural form of escape and expression for OLAN, helping her find peace amidst the years of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic:
“‘Contra’ is an album I wrote as a way to find some peace with my life having no definitive purpose at the time. I often try to attach meaning to everything I encounter. I force myself to re-live memories. I’ll try to unpack them and see how I could change my reality if I had just been a better person.”
Musically, ‘Contra’ is inculcated with a variety of electronic styles from melodic house, breakbeat, downtempo and drum & bass, to ambient and hip-hop. Influenced by the likes of Maribou State, Little Dragon, T.E.E.D and Bonobo, as well as the cult video game ‘Outer Wilds’, the sound of ‘Contra’ is fluid and alluringly hard to pin down. OLAN’s penchant for textural soundscapes is showcased in atmospheric tracks such as ‘Push’ and ‘Submerge’ and the buoyant Balearic vibes of ‘Material’. Conversely, the jungle rhythms and acid basslines on ‘Promise To Keep’ and ‘Reckoning’ demonstrate how raw, energetic dance-inducing songwriting comes naturally to the Atlanta-based producer.
This songwriting versatility is also showcased in OLAN’s colourful catalogue, which includes co-writing credits for ‘Bussit’ with Ari Lennox, collaborations with Mat Zo on his 2020 album ‘Illusion of Depth’, the single release of ‘In Motion’ with rising star Nourey, and ‘Push’, first released on Anjunadeep’s Reflections series.
In ‘Contra’, the aforementioned themes of self-awareness and self-acceptance are persistent throughout and realised in OLAN’s considered lyrics. Opening track ‘Submerge’ contemplates the cyclical nature of life’s lessons, exclaiming “there’s no limit to the depth that I can relive it all”. Other tracks such as ‘Promise To Keep’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ raise questions about fulfilment and where it comes from – “I’m asking more questions / Taking no secrets / But is there a message / When nothing is sacred?”. Each song presented a cathartic moment for Lu, as she explains:
“Making this album was the first time I could be present the grief, loneliness, or isolation I felt when my expectations didn’t match my surroundings. It made me realize how much happier I am when I detach from stories or specific outcomes.”
Given she learnt her craft as a classical musician between orchestra classes and worship bands, OLAN prominently incorporated her own live instrumentation and vocals whilst recording the album. Suitably, she will be taking ‘Contra’ on tour live this year, with previous performances at Beyond Wonderland, Ultra, and Ben Böhmer’s North American tour, and upcoming shows at The Gorge Weekender, and a soon to be announced album tour.
As a queer woman of colour OLAN is used to standing out. However, it is her capacity for creative production, dynamic songwriting, singing and instrumentation that really sets her apart from her contemporaries.
Release date: 10th June 2022
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The Four Purposes of Music
Music is a powerful force, able to bring individuals together and unite society. Music has four clear purposes: to entertain ourselves, to communicate with others, to form rituals, and to create social cohesion. In fact, many studies have shown that people are more likely to stick together when they have music playing in the background. Let’s explore these four important purposes of music and how they relate to each other. Here are a few of them:
Today, music is increasingly personal. Rather than relying on radio DJs to guide their choices, music lovers now control their listening experience. Increasing use of new technologies has transformed the way music is created. Record labels once saw musicians as commodities to be bought and sold. Now, artists have direct access to fans. Here are some of the reasons music has become so powerful:
The rise of streaming music services such as Pandora made it possible for people to listen to new music without the hassle of downloading it. This technology made listening to music more convenient than ever. The first CD was released in 1982. Over the next 20 years, 200 billion CDs were sold. Unlike tapes, CDs do not contain any physical items, and were lightweight and thin. It was the perfect replacement for the tape collection of the past. But, the rise of subscription music services is not without its drawbacks.
Today, music is more than entertainment. It is a means of cultural exchange and an art form. Streaming services have made the music industry a multi-billion-dollar business. Music production, distribution, publishing, and live concerts are all part of this industry. Today, streaming services like Spotify are a big contributor to the overall revenue of the industry. Spotify has even launched a playlist called Rap Life. These playlists are increasingly popular among the music-consuming public.