Soft Abuse

Steven R. Smith | Olive

SAB110 | LP, DL

Steven R. Smith


Steven R. Smith is a wildly consistent and self-sufficient auteur making epic music far beyond his monk-like solo recording practices. On Olive, we get more of Steven R. Smith’s singular vision and musicianship, this time filtered through ensemble arrangements largely performed by others. A micro-orchestra of horn and woodwind players was enlisted, as well as other collaborators including Kate Wright (Movietone, 1000 Dawns) and Yvonne Sone. The stunning results call to mind Mark Hollis’ eponymous solo LP and Gerald Busby’s masterful 3 Women score, not only in terms of sonics or tone, but also in the use of space.

Smith has explored many angles to soundtrack-like mood music, but there is a satisfying dark rock element to even his more refined chamber pieces. Smith’s dusky post-punk signature, borrowed from Australian artists such as Rowland S. Howard and Crime & the City Solution, synthesizes with the mannered arrangements to push his familiar, evocative sound into new spaces.


Track Titles

  1. Marshland Study
  2. The Magpie
  3. On the Trellis
  4. With Cypresses
  5. Passing Winter
  6. Across the Boulevard
  7. Olive
  8. Parlor Fields
  9. Trees at North Branch
  10. Roadmenders