It is a common misconception that making music which falls into brackets such as chilled, ambient and understated is about taking a song and stripping back to leave space. Actually it is about using the right few musical statements, the perfect notes, the most effective and concise melodies to encase that space. Knowing that, Grace Freeman’s Oliver is more about using music to create musical bubbles around the existing atmospheres and intangible feelings that naturally linger around us all.
The tangible elements of the music are a blend of classical ballad, 70’s folk and cinematic soundtrack but the art is that beyond, behind, above and below those sparing and carefully chosen notes, deft guitar and plaintive piano lines the atmospherics and emotions seem to just hang in the air.
And that vocal! It is fantastic to hear a voice so pure and charmingly innocent sounding and one seemingly so out of alignment (thankfully) with the modern pop template of over statement and over enhancement that it seems to be not just from a different time but a whole different place. I can’t begin to overstate the power of understatement.