Release Date: November 15, 2019
Catalog #: RR8024
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century

Electric Scent


Sophya Polevaya composer, performer

On Ravello Records, London composer and saxophonist Sophya Polevaya offers ELECTRIC SCENT, a series of 19 instrumental meditations on the mythic power of flowers and perfumery.

Polevaya’s mastery of both composition and performance shines from the outset of ELECTRIC SCENT. Polevaya performs on more than a half dozen instruments throughout, including saxophone, cello, and harpsichord, yet her music is anything but traditional. Rather, she liberates these instruments from some of the frowsty confines of the Western canon and pushes them to their physical limits. The album opens with the throaty drone of a cello announcing a singular tone as harpsichord, saxophones, and a collection of found objects flutter and spark around it. In one fleeting miniature after another, Polevaya explores the tension between piercing tones and rasping cries, inviting the listener to consider more deeply every instrument’s distinctive timbre and the additional sonic layers created by effect pedals and loop stations. Each track jolts the listener into new appreciation, from the spritely, arrhythmic saxophone line of Tiger Lily to the surreal, electroacoustic manipulation of “Chypre.”

Like a perfumer concocting rich, mystifying aromas from potent botanical fragrances, Polevaya stirs together an extraordinary collection of sensory delights in ELECTRIC SCENT. The album is a not-to-be-missed work, speaking directly to the compelling artistic prowess of Polevaya.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 1, Soliflore Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:53
02 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 2, Fougère Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:42
03 Tiger Lily Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:52
04 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 3, Coumarin Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:35
05 Thorn Apple: I. Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 3:06
06 Thorn Apple: II. Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 2:14
07 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 4, Amber Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:00
08 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 5, Eugenol Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:24
09 Liatris Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 3:24
10 Lunaria: I. Abloom Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:25
11 Lunaria: II. Sillique Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 3:25
12 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 6, Evanscent Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 0:41
13 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 7, Accord Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:18
14 Viscaria Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 2:28
15 Asphodel Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 3:22
16 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 8, Aldehyde Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:53
17 Amaryllis Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 3:20
18 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 9, Chypre Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:57
19 Perfume Coffret Miniatures: No. 10, Sillage Sophya Polevaya Sophya Polevaya 1:03

Recorded February & April 2019 at the Recital Room, The Purcell School for Young Musicians in Bushey, England, UK

Recording Session Engineer Tom Bell
Editing & Mixing Tom Bell, Sophya Polevaya
Artist photography Image 1st London

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Marina Altschiller

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Shaun Michaud

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Sophya Polevaya

Composer, Saxophonist

Polevaya’s journey as a musician began with classical training on several instruments. She then became immersed in more experimental forms of performance, in particular electroacoustic improvisation with effect pedals. Polevaya’s performance background ties closely with her compositional work, which is often infused with electronics, found objects, and theatrical elements.


FLORIOGRAPHY — the language of flowers — is a form of poetic expression through flower arranging. The idea is that each plant holds a hidden message derived from their botany or mythological significance, which can be passed on in, say, a bouquet. In this compilation, seven of my compositions are named after particular plants, each drawing inspiration from the plants’ botany and symbolism. The saxophone is the solo instrument in these pieces, accompanied by recorded loops sourced from my own playing on various acoustic instruments: harpsichord, classical guitar, cello, temple blocks, and found objects.

Perfume was another source of inspiration for this album. I was intrigued by how descriptions of the olfactory impression of a fragrance often have musical imagery attached to them, like the fundamental “composition” of a perfume being described as having three sets of notes of varying prominence and temporality. The featured Perfume Coffret Miniatures are a set of ten miniatures named after different terms used in perfumery. For this series I composed a mosaic of material and then recorded myself playing each cell—the recordings of which were combined to form the miniatures. The instruments featured in the miniatures mirror those heard in the rest of the compilation; likewise their acoustic sounds are occasionally combined with effect processing.

— Sophya Polevaya