November 10, 2018 / 3:00 pm

Tash Sultana – Flow State

Released August 31, 2018

RATING: 6/7

Australian musician Tash Sultana’s first album is just scratching the surface of what’s next to come for the talented artist.  While this may be their first released album, Sultana is no stranger to the music industry. The Melbourne native began playing music at the age of three and hasn’t been far from a guitar since. Sultana’s musical path hasn’t been a walk in the park though, the singer struggled with drug addiction and at 17 underwent a 9-month long drug-induced psychosis – forgetting how to play all 13 instruments they had learned over the years. Many people’s careers may have stopped there, but Sultana was determined to get back into music and used guitar as a way to reconnect with reality. For years prior to their psychosis, Sultana had been busking on the streets of Melbourne showcasing their talents and was soon led back to performing on the streets. After a video of Sultana went viral in 2016 of their at home performance of ‘Jungle,’ a short EP was released that has left fans hungry for an album ever since. While many people recognize Tash’s cover of MGMT’s ‘Electric Feel,’ what the general public may not be aware of is that Sultana is responsible for all of the instrumental aspects of their work. As previously mentioned, Tash played 13 instruments before undergoing the lasting psychosis, now Sultana plays over 20, loops all of their instruments on the tracks, and may very well be one of the most impressive guitarists in the current industry.

With all that and more for background, one can certainly understand how anticipated this album was and how much pressure Sultana was experiencing to define their career.

This album lives up to the set expectations and shows Sultana’s ability to transcend genres. This genre-defying talent along with Tash’s perfectionism has led to a dexterous album that hits hard from start to finish. In the subtlety-lacking album, Flow State is filled with strong songs, leaving no track with anything left to be desired.

Flow State kicks off with a two-minute long intro titled ‘Seed.’ Immediately showcasing Sultana’s talent on a guitar, lyrics like “I got secrets locked inside of my mind / The stories I never showed,” serve as insight for what to expect throughout the album.

Through the album, Sultana leaps across genres showcasing their versatility. Sultana ties psychedelic/reggae rock with experimental R&B throughout the tracks, while approaching their dark experiences with love and drugs in a way that resonates with a universal audience. Tash revisits their familiar past sound through songs like ‘Big Smoke’, ‘Murder to the Mind’, and ‘Salvation’ which rely on heavy guitar, reverb, electronic beats, and funky tones while touching on topics of separation, confronting past and provides an intimate insight on Tash’s psychosis experience. Other tracks like ‘Harvest Love,’ ‘Free Mind’ and ‘Mellow Marmalade’ blend alternative with bedroom pop through acoustic guitar and melodic looping. ‘Cigarettes’ and ‘Pink Moon’ also hint at relapse and growth through more traditional alternative sounds and acoustics.  Finally, despite Sultana’s alluring hazy vocal abilities, they utilize their musical skill in instrumental tracks like ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Seven’ to evoke strong emotions that do not need lyrical implication. Despite Flow State being a lengthy album, the genre-fluid tracks make sure no repetition or lulls are present. Tash’s knack to bring out similarities of said genres advocates for all types of music and introduces fans and first-time listeners to a variety of music through their multifaceted sound.

All in all, timeless talent sweeps the album and reminisces on strong Hendrix solos while tying in a modern style, with songs like “Mellow Marmalade” with an edgy Colbie Caillat sound. At the young age of 23, Tash Sultana has fans looking forward to seeing how this bold artist will continue to grow and evolve their sound. Keep Sultana on your radar.