It says something about the prevalent style of music that has been landing in the review pile of late that I find myself using well travelled, less is more type cliches, of talking about restraint, understatement and space more and more often. But of all of the minimal pop, ambient, dreamlike indie and balladic music that has come my way, By Myself perhaps marks a real high point in how to say so much by doing so little. And I use the term “doing so little” in the most positive sense of the meaning, for whilst it is easy to do little when it comes to writing music, it is knowing just which bits of this minimalist approach to use that is the real art. And Mos Capri seems an expert in knowing just how to cut that musical cloth to its barest and most essential…essentials.
A genre-less ballad, one that sits on the edges of jazz, soul, pop and even classical, By Myself is a collection of deftly interwoven piano lines and emotive vocals with the space that they are allowed to breath in providing the extra magical ingredient. For whilst the vocals and the musical score are filled with grace and charm, emotion and reflection, it is the space around them that really propels the song to greater heights. That space provides the anticipation, the atmospherics that are created from allowing the lyrics to breathe before they fade away, the notes to linger sensitively, making everything twice as powerful but powerful in a way that is the exact opposite of the dictionary definition of of the word. Maybe a better word might be effective, though this seems to undersell just how gently touching and emotionally impactful the song is.
Some music makes its mark through weight and drive but Mos Capri is all about the most supple and subtle musical creations, ones that eschew power for poise, groove for grace, bombast for beauty and in doing so she is able to conjure up music which, whilst sadly is at odds with much of the music being made for the modern music consumer, will easily outlast all of it.
If some music is made to be used, enjoyed and discarded, for a quick hit and a good time, Mos Capri makes music for the long haul and with out conforming to fad or fashion the results are simply stunning.