Olm – 10 Hours Best Relaxing Music For Stress, Help, Sleep, Dream, Love

Olm has been around for but a few years, and released a handful of CDrs and tapes. The latest of the latter came out this summer, but is at the time of writing still available in a few copies from American Grey Matter Productions. To start off with your first question: 10 Hours Best Relaxing Music For Stress, Help, Sleep, Dream, Love is not actually ten hours, but about forty minutes. Furthermore, it is not that relaxing. It is certainly music though, even if it’s not hitting the Top of the Pops (is that a thing?) any time soon.

As a reviewer it’s never nice to speak about music being “difficult to define” or “defying genre classifications”, since it makes either you or the artist seem pretentious or boring. Nevertheless, it would be really hard to place 10 Hours… in any specific musical folder. It is mostly quite calm, and because of this could possibly be labeled ambient, but the unorthodox use of among other things strings, pianos, harmonica and field recorded nature sounds is often so intense it wanders into other territories. Sometimes the vibe is industrial, sometimes free-form jazz (now, that is a thing, I’m sure).

While the mood may at times live up to the tape title and be at least somewhat relaxing, a better description for most of this would be “unsettling”. There are distinct vocal noises of presumably anxiety induced nausea, discordant notes and ominous instrumental squeals peppered over most of these forty minutes. A substantial part of the forty minute track is made up of repetitive, suggestive melodies, at others things remain at a deconstructed, proto-musical stage. There are even hints of noise. Apparently recorded during a time of crisis for the creator, 10 Hours… makes the emotional circumstances of its genesis abundantly clear. Far from expressing “pure darkness” or “violent noise” or any other conventional review cliche, the pain and provocation of this tape is far more subtle and real. It is bound not to be everyone’s cup of tea, but as long as there are people who like coffee there will be a place for releases like this.

10 Hours Best Relaxing Music For Stress, Health, Sleep, Dream, Love explores some unpleasant human states of mind in a highly abstract fashion, and adds on some melodic pleasure to help the medicine go down. The strange title, reminiscent of Engrish marketing text or some 80’s tape meant to help people fall asleep, is oddly compelling, and really there is little left to do but recommend this oddball journey. If the few remaining cassettes are sold out, the download is available for whatever you feel like paying. Both from Grey Matter Productions.

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