Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Ols’s Gets Darker

Ols, the one-woman dark neofolk project from Poland, has a new single out, in ‘Ciemniej’, and you can check out the music video for it here at RAMzine.

‘Ciemniej’ translates as darker, and is featured on the recently released fourth album Pustkowia. 

Anna Maria Olchawa, who is in fact Ols commented: “’Ciemniej’ (Darker) is a journey into the inside. Each step into yourself is a step into the darkness, where new layers of darkness are revealed. Everyone who has this night inside them belongs to one tribe. The darkness calls upon darkness, murk attracts murk… Mountains and swamps, for centuries considered realms of dangerous powers, can sense this darkness and claim us as their own. Will you hear their voice?”

Released in October via Pagan Records, Pustkowia, is Ols‘ fourth studio album from the project, and the second one for the label.

“Pustkowia” means wastelands in Polish. The record is said to be darker, heavier, bolder and more varied, but also sadder, more emotional and extremely personal than her previous recordings. The common denominator linking all the compositions is emptiness: abandonment, dying out and decay, both in the literal sense (abandoned places, deserted settlements, ruins consumed by greenery) and metaphorical (emotional emptiness, rejection, exclusion). 

Musically, each track on the album is different; from metal-like pieces, through disturbing ritual chants, to mesmerising, trance-like lullabies. As on the previous records, the song arrangements are based on polyphonic vocal parts, accompanied by a whole gallery of instruments. On Pustkowia, typical dark-folk instruments with ritual drums, a brass section and drone bass have been enriched with solutions from the metal yard, and in the vocal parts include growls, screams and shrieks, emphasising the emotional nature of the songs.

Ols previously unveiled three singles and music videos.The strongest track on the album. Perhaps the most needed one”, said Ols, of ‘Nie ma światła w oknach’. “A scream that has long matured in my gut to reveal itself. The trauma had to be vomited. The recording of this track had a therapeutic dimension for me. And it came so naturally to me that I was surprised. This is a track with virtually no vocal corrections. I stopped, started screaming and it was gone. The text is short because nothing else needs to be said in it. I know what it is about for me, and every person who has had their own unpleasant experiences gets a place to write their story here.”

The previous single to that was ‘Pustacie’ (meaning “empty lands”) that you can check out the video for here at RAMzine.

Ols commented on the music video for that one: “In the empty space, in the white desert, a lonely woman and a she-wolf are wandering. The smoke of the scorched earth swirls around, the sand is made of the ashes of a dead world. This post-apocalyptic vision is a vision of the future where inevitable destruction lurks. In a local, earthly sense – an ecological catastrophe, in a broader, cosmic sense – entropy and heat death of the universe. Everything is moving towards the ultimate void. Life is only a temporary anomaly in infinite non-existence. Humanity bestowed with painful self-awareness can just wander aimlessly through the wastelands, knowing that the only destiny is going to nowhere.”

More recently, came ‘Głosy’, meaning “voices”, and the video features dancers from the Hamsa Dance School based in Warsaw, Poland.

Of the song, Ols commented: “By joining forces with sisters-witches, we regain the power of our own bodies. Proud of our wild energy, of dark magic, primal and carnal, rejected by the world of diurnal creatures. In the marshes, we perform our rituals against the world that wants to limit our freedom. Celebrating our similarities, embracing our differences. Being different is your strength, and your sisters always watch over you. You’ll never walk alone.

The album is dedicated to those who do not have a voice. “You can hear the voices of those who are excluded, rejected, forgotten, persecuted”, added Ols. “Voices belonging not only to people, but to other inhabitants of the earth, dying as a result of homo-centrism, religions that put man above all else, and social consent to the destruction of the weaker, who cannot defend themselves. The vision of a barren land is accompanied by personal threads related to rejection, loneliness, depression and suicide. Many of these topics are explored for the first time in the works of the Ols project. It’s a very personal album, but it also leaves room for listeners’ own interpretations.”

Orders for Pustkowia can be made here.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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