When opening a package from Fluid Audio, the first thing one notices is the scent. We imagine the label filled with various florals, from dried blossoms to aromatic extracts. This time around, certain copies of the CD are floral too; ten variations of luxury paper replicate the feel of a classic hardback book. This is the first of a new design series from the label, and we love what we’re seeing (and smelling). Throw in the vintage glass slide and the visual angle is complete. (As an aside, it’s fascinating to note that slides have become objets d’art, even without the projectors!)
Scent is said to be the most evocative of the senses. When combined with the nostalgic image and cover print, the overall effect is one of gratitude, which segues softly into the music itself. This is the first collaboration between Dalot (Greece) and Sound Awakener (Vietnam). Their focus on the little things leads them to the sounds beneath streets and rivers, the tiny conversations of humanity and nature. A natural connection can be made to Flow Magazine’s recent The Tiny Book of Tiny Pleasures. As the focus shifts to the aural, one hears the gentle prompts of field recordings: a child asking, “Mommy?”, a rustling in the leaves, as if looking for a wayward ball. The music is cushioned, arriving in waves: less a surprise for followers of Sound Awakener than for those of Dalot, whose last album bordered on shoegaze with an electronic flair. Yet this isn’t about the sound of either artist, but of friendship: another little thing of great value.
When we are calm, we notice things. We pause as we walk; we consider sky, trees, birds. We listen to the words of others instead of thinking about what we will say next. This album invites the listener to slow down, to focus on things we might have missed: the sound of opening doors, the light splash of bathing birds. In “Everyday Happiness”, the implication is that we might pause to examine what we have rather than what we lack. Again the children play, and we can learn from their joy. In “A Good Day” to be alone, the word alone is deceptive; company is found in feathers and song.
Albeit subtle, “Inside” is the only track with a recognizable dance pulse. The piece seems to say that blossoming can happen within our souls if we allow it. While there is great value in the outdoors, our appreciation of the little things outside may help us to appreciate little things inside as well: hints of courage, reservoirs of strength. Maria Papadomanolaki (Dalot) & Nhung Nguyen (Sound Awakener) have made a connection beyond words; they have melded their experiences into a soundscape that erases borders, miles and verbal language. (Richard Allen)
Editor’s Note: Every once in a while, we remind our readers to subscribe to Fluid Audio’s newsletter, as more of these limited edition releases are sure to follow! Here’s the link.