Singer-songwriter Oliver Downes creates cosmic soundscapes, mixing soaring melodies with percussive piano and precise lyrical musings. His 2014 debut EP ‘at the end’ was described as ‘genuinely melodic’ (Chris Evans, The Curve Ball, Staffordshire Radio, UK) and ‘a beautifully crafted series of compositions in which highly sophisticated instrumentation, arrangement and recording values directly address the state of the natural world’ (Paul Cosgrove, Blue Mountains FM). A kinetic performer, Oliver’s music sounds like what might happen if Kate Bush hired Thom Yorke as lyricist or Leonard Cohen brought in Philip Glass to help bash out a tune.
Oliver’s debut album ‘ultraviolet’, set for release later in 2016, develops his art in directions both psychedelic and refined, delving into questions of constraint and escape. A family affair, the album features art-folk instrumental trio The String Contingent, musical home of Oliver’s sister, bassist Holly Downes, her hirsute partner, violinist Chris Stone and affable Scot, Graham McLeod on guitar, with Chris’ brother Rob, of metal outfit Norse, rounding out the ensemble on drums. Together they traverse the space between instantly hummable chamber pop and the experimental margins of folk, charting a passage through the darkness into the light.