It feels like a lifetime ago that Melbourne multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana burst onto the Australian music scene, yet it was merely two years ago that the then busker’s soulful bedroom jam ‘Jungle’ took social media and radio airwaves by storm.
Her story is unique in many ways, from battles with drugs to finding herself again through music. In the years since, Sultana’s star has grown to the point of being a worldwide phenomenon, with the singer songwriter selling out shows and headlining festivals the world over with her breathtaking live performances.
Finally after 2017’s ‘Notion’ EP and a spate of singles, we have received our first in-depth look inside the mind of Tash Sultana… an hour long 13 song masterpiece titled ‘Flow State’ – her debut album.
In an interview with Triple J presenter Richard Kingsmill, Sultana described the struggles of trying to translate her live performance into a recorded format:
“I’m trying to condense this live show into a pair of headphones, pretty much. The product that you receive at the end of the day, most people will play in their car or in their headphones. I’m trying to capture what’s on the stage, where you’ve got a huge sound system and 40 subs and the vibe. Trying to put that into your ears is difficult.” – Tash Sultana
The result can be simply described as breathtaking. Sultana’s understanding of time and space shines throughout the debut: her delay and reverb infused guitar mixed with spacial vocals are sonically immersive.
The record sees the young virtuoso come of age, with a mix of tracks that highlight how far she has come since her early loop-infused hits. There is a more delicate and stripped back feel to parts of the album, with songs such as ‘Pink Moon‘, ‘Mellow Marmalade‘ and ‘Harvest Love‘ displaying the immense talent of Sultana as a pure singer songwriter.
‘Blackbird‘ is a personal favourite off the record. The 12-string jam has elements of influence from artists such as John Butler, with the nine minute track an overwhelming listening experience. Other noteworthy tracks include ‘Seed‘, ‘Big Smoke‘ and ‘Free Mind‘.
Seldom does an album come along that is a true cover to cover record but there is no other way to describe ‘Flow State’. It is a record for the ages.