"Downes creates an intimate evening for those who prowl outside of jazz served up neat."
Oliver Downes's debut at MFF features an economic delivery of current affairs, nudging tempos and malty smoothness. With a scaled-down ensemble from those that jostle on his debut EP (2014), Downes creates an intimate evening for those who prowl outside of jazz served up neat.
His compositions and arrangements create nebulous, ethereal soundscapes, deftly woven by the tensile orchestration between the trio — Downes (grand piano), Matthew Dixon (guitar) and Callum Moncrieff (drums). Tsunamis, the GFC, Fukushima, hang-gliding and quarantine all inspire the cryptic Downes and bear a real-time weight to his lyrics. Although his mezzo vocals often verge on the monotonous, he provides plenty of room to stretch out our grey matter. Downes plays Friday and Saturday residences at Ruby's for the next three weeks. Give your mind permission to wander.