9/10 Mike Staff review, 15 December 2011
The Starsky and Hutch of minimal are back with their first fully-fledged standalone collaborative album under the name Oliveray, where they blur the lines between neofolk, neoclassical and contemporary minimal composition a little more for us. I expect you're familiar with some of these guys' work previously. They're always popping up on each other's records, and just the other day Frahm put out an ace 7” recording of a synth improvisation which he recorded for his friend because Brodders liked the way his Juno sounded. This record has a mixture of instrumental and vocal songs. The opening instrumental tracks have string swells and piano tinkles that immediately bring to mind the brilliant A Winged Victory For The Sullen. This album as a whole is more playful and kinetic over its course, though, with other instrumentals like the pulsating 'Piano in the Pond!' taking a more explorative minimal space jazz direction. Meanwhile 'Just Resign' has a smoky mournful late night barroom feel with a movingly otherworldly pump organ accompaniment whose roughness cuts through the silky piano like sandpaper. The vocal tracks are stripped right back to allow Broderick's tentative and soulful voice, not a million miles from Sandro Perri's in terms of tone and delivery, a little space to breathe, making a really affecting kind of lounge-inflected neofolk with stoical piano lifting it to new heights when needed. I really get the feeling that this project is the product of a great deal of affection and the result is a truly indulgent listen. You really feel like you're taking a glimpse into a fruitful moment in a friendship where both parties are learning together how to exploit their mutual obsession with sounds. The tones captured here and the musicianship with which they are delivered are impeccable. It's the kind of late night music that really resonates in you, and I look forward to hearing more from this project.
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