Flow State is the debut studio album by Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana, released on 31 August 2018, through their own record label, Lonely Lands Records (distributed by Sony Music Australia in Australia, and Mom + Pop elsewhere).
Sultana spent parts of 2017 and 2018 writing and recording the album, and was seen working with Matt Corby and Anderson Paak throughout their album sessions. Melbourne audio engineer Nikita Miltiadou was pictured in recording session images, and was a previous engineer on Sultana's prior EP and singles.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2018, Flow State won the ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album.
Background and recording
Following the release of their extended play Notion in 2016, Sultana toured worldwide. In between tour dates, Sultana spent time in the studio to work on what was described to be their first album. In June 2017, in an interview with Fairfax, Sultana described their plans to release an album in April 2018.
While the timing was pushed back, due to several health issues, and touring delays, Sultana gradually released sneak peeks of the album recording process via their social media channels. Those snapshots featured footage and imagery of them in the studio. In 2017, Sultana released the two singles. "Murder to the Mind" and "Mystik". On 21 June 2018, Sultana premiered the song "Salvation" live on triple j Breakfast with Ben and Liam, and announced the forthcoming release of their first studio album, Flow State. They have subsequently released two further singles, "Harvest Love" and "Free Mind". In a Gold Coast Bulletin interview in August 2018, Sultana commented (regarding alcohol and other drugs in music) "you (I) hear all of the stories again and again and again (sic) from other musicians about alcohol and drugs and while it's fun to do for a bit, I don't know that is fun enough to try to sustain a life".
Artwork and title
In an April 2018 interview with online Spanish blog Indierocks, Sultana spoke about the influence behind the name Flow State and said "it's the term to refer to when you access a part of your mind known as your being, and you find something you are passionate about."
In Sultana's social media, they make reference to Ben Lopez, and Pat Fox as being responsible for the creation of the art for the single "Salvation”, with Fox being responsible for the album art creation.
Need a moment? Need a break from it all to just relax? Above & Beyond have often been a group to soundtrack a peaceful state of mind with their early work and are back at it with their new meditative and yoga album Flow State.
As one might expect from an album with that purpose, it is chilled out ambient electronica all the way through. There are three previously released songs that fans will recognize “Small Moments,” Group Therapy’s “Sun In Your Eyes” and the title track to their recent LP Common Ground, but the bulk of the 17 track LP is unreleased material.
The album delivers on its promise to be introspective and soothing. It helps to unlock those moments of bliss and peace in a world where everything is flying one million miles an hour.
This is different from their Acoustic albums, which offer stripped down versions of previously released tracks. Flow State keeps the electronic elements alive, with soft strings, floating pads and fluttering piano that can dance across slow melodies. There are moments of silence sprinkled throughout the record to provide brief moments of compete introspection.
Reviewed by Ryan Middleton for magneticmag.com.