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 worn, less is more type cliches, of talking increasingly about restraint, understatement and space. But of all of the plaintive, piano pieces and ambient, dream-pop music that has come my way, Different 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. Ayo B 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 late night jazz, intimate soul, chilled out pop and even classical, Different is a collection of deftly interwoven piano lines and emotive vocals, somehow both starkly powerful yet soft and soothing with the space that they are allowed to breath in providing the extra magical ingredient.
For whilst the vocals and the musical lines 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 somehow at odds with the dictionary definition 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 Ayo B 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 he is able to conjure up music which, whilst sadly is at odds with much of the music being made for the modern 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, here is music being made for the long haul and without conforming to fad or fashion, and the results are simply stunning.