“ … when I’m creating music, I mostly envision different worlds. Once you stick with astronomy and the mysteries of the universe, there’s no turning back, hence the track titles are all universe-related. I’m all about stargazing, what I imagine is what I create and through the process I’m feeling it. The album title says it all really …”
“The Hidden Worlds” is the debut personal album of the Serbian producer Slobodan Oljaca, known by his recording alias Okee. An inertial and stellar navigation to distant constellations and planets, the album beautifully emulates premium atmospherics, creating a mood of existential uncertainty. Profoundly influenced by vintage science fiction films and the exceptional drum & bass sound of the 90s, “The Hidden Worlds” captures sense and sensibility as grandly as Okees’ musical icons, investing every glacial synth shimmer with a hope even solar wind at the termination shock can’t kill.
The album was published on June, 11th by Smooth N Groove Records (SNGR), a drum & bass label based on Washington DC and Northampton UK, dedicated to the soulful and funkier side of the spectrum. Okee comments on the partnership with SNGR:
“… at some point I realized that I had enough unfinished material for three albums. It’s been hard work, more like a mission, but I have enjoyed every minute making it. When ‘Hidden Worlds’ finished, no label had an open slot for a possible release, especially for this kind of musical style. Then came the SNGR crew, who offered to release it immediately and described the album as “unique” in their catalogue. I would like to take the opportunity to thank them again for making this possible. They have a great back catalogue, as well as fantastic forthcoming releases and they really deserve the acknowledgement and support, amazing people …”
Okee’s space odyssey consists of 12 tracks. A modern re-imagination echoing the art of 90s atmospheric drum & bass with vintage chord progressions, blissful harmonics and samples and dialogue excerpts from retro sci-fi movies (‘Red Planet Mars’ and ‘War Of The Worlds’ among others). As the titles suggest, each track represents a hidden world, from the volcanic terra of Jupiter moons and seas presided over by nymphs to red earth slope streaks.
The track order follows a parabolic trajectory. The first part, a sublime cruise through mesmerizing ambience with blissful pads, arpeggios and eerie vocals, starts with the volcanic world (Mysteries of Io), moving to watery kingdoms (Navahu, Seas of Naid, Far River), before entering the astral plane (Starmoods). The second part is more dancefloor oriented with the string-laden amen excursions (Midnight Medley, Timelines). The last part of the voyage (and my favourite one) includes the highlights of the album featuring also collaborations with Thesis and d&b legend and Okee’s mentor Voyager. The main theme of Fractals is reminiscent of Seba & Lotek’s timeless classic Universal Music. Sunrise In the Third System is a reference to the electronic abstractionism of the eponymous Tangerine Dream track; the sound of abandoned space stations and dead airlocks. The journey to the invisible reaches towards the end with Vision Quest and The Seeker, the latter Okee’s tribute to Future Engineers. The closing track Red Earth (Echoes Of Transmission) has Voyager’s unparalleled studio signature: captivating strings underpinned by a masterfully programmed bassline, a glorious breakdown and a male vocal hook, which gives a future retro feel without sounding a creative stretch; perhaps the sequel of Transmission Control, which was released a few years ago on the Outer Reaches EP by Omni Music.
Okee reflects on the album collaborations:
“… I’m more than proud for all the collaborations I have achieved. Matt (Thesis) is a really good friend, a talented producer and definitely one of those artists you’d love to work with. The track “Fractals” is actually an old tune, but we managed to release it, keeping the original essence of deep atmospheric drum & bass back from the day. It’s a personal favourite and I am really looking forward to future ones with Thesis.
Pete Voyager, huh, there are no words to describe that man … Pete is the most influential person for me when it comes to drum & bass music. I strongly believe he is for many other artists globally. That collaboration started a couple of years back and due to lack of time on both parts we struggled to finish that one. Pete is a fellow country-man, ‘brat ‘,and that gives us the opportunity for future projects. After this one I’m sure the legacy will continue. Thank you Pete “brate moj” for everything…”
The album is available across the usual digital outlets since June, 11th and is available for preview here:
Okee’s artist profile:
S.Oljaca otherwise known as Okee, is a well recognised music producer hailing from Serbia. Inspired by deep space travelling and futuristic soundscapes, he has been a long supporter of deep atmospheric drum ‘n’ bass for more than decade. Over the years Okee has focused more on his own music creating deep atmospheric drum ‘n’ bass. Okee seeks inspiration from the universe and deep space explorations,
bringing you more of that atmospheric space sound from the unforgettable late 90’s. Original Stargazer…
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About Smooth N Groove
Smooth N Groove Records is a Drum & Bass label dedicated to bringing atmospheric, funky, soulful, rolling vibez from the best in the scene to the ears of all listeners.
Based out of Washington, DC and Northampton, UK. Smooth N Groove Records launched in May 2016 opening with their first release, Jrumhand’s Beaches & Countryside.
With forthcoming releases from the likes of Furney, Madcap, Blade, Scott Allen, MsDoS, GreekBoy, Phaeny, Soul Connection, A.K.A, Conspire, Payback, Wyman, R-Vee, Passive, InnaSelf, Braya, Viewer, Twintone, Freebird, Jrumhand, Soultec, Underdog, Poleetox, Funkware, Re-Adjust, NRDFCE, Tweakz, and more all ready to drop throughout the remaining part of 2017 into 2018.
Label Website: https://sngrecs.com/