If a song stops you in your tracks and forces you to really listen to it, you know that it’s a great song. On her latest project, Orange Glow, New Jersey’s Oldest Sea present four really great songs. Pulling from Americana and sparse singer-songwriter tropes, Oldest Sea crafts songs that are gripping, soothing, and beautiful.
Oldest Sea is the solo music project of Samantha Marandola. Despite writing music for nearly a decade, Marandola did not release any of it until December of 2017. Then, she released an eight-song collection titled Sage Burner. On it, she doused her voice in reverb, making her lyrics practically unintelligible. Still, the songs shine with a unique psychedelic grandeur. With her words hidden behind distortion, it acts like just another instrument, working alongside the others to craft a sonic landscape.
On Orange Glow, Marandola strips away much of the reverb and lets her voice be heard. On the project’s sprawling second track, “Dust”, Marandola’s vocals are firmly in the spotlight. As she sings “the dust makes a shadow…” over and over, her voice weasels its way into your head and tightly grips all of your attention. Though the songs are fairly simple, there is never much more than vocals and a guitar, they are deeply affecting. Marandola’s voice whirs around in your head and occupies every corner of your mind. It’s impossible not to fade into the landscape of the music.
The project’s three other tracks exist in a similar space as “Dust”. “Nameless Thing” forces you to move slowly and effortfully. It swallows you and pushes you to exist only in its world, at least for it’s brief runtime. The project closes with “All That is False (The Dust Has Settled)”, which feels like a six-minute exhale. It is sweet and slow, like the most satisfying of deep breaths.
Orange Glow is far from a challenging listen, but it does require something of you. These songs demand that you release yourself to them and forget about the rest of the world for a few minutes. They wrap around you like a comforting hug and slowly unfurl at their end. Do yourself a favor, hit pause on your day and let these songs take the wheel for at least a little while.
Listen to Oldest Sea’s Orange Glow below.
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