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Matt Saxton - Take It or Leave It (self-released)

22 May 2024

People like Matt Saxton make this sort of thing look easy. A simple balladic song, gentle and spacious piano lines, and hushed vocals—it is easy, right? Well, many have had a go, but few manage to pull off such a deceptively straightforward feat as deftly, delicately, and deliciously as Matt does here.

Most artists have a problem when faced with the spaciousness and breathing room required to make such a song effective. When presented with silence, a blank canvas, or a pause in the proceedings, most people try to fill the void. After all, music is about being creative, and doesn’t that require that it is better to put more sonic paint on the paper than leave it empty? No.


No, no, no, no!

What Matt knows and proceeds to display here is just how powerful space is. Space is what allows everything to breathe. It is what allows each instrument’s contribution to be adequately heard. It is space that gives the vocals the power to drift in and fade out gracefully and the message and sentiments to linger. It is space that allows all manner of additional sounds and sonics, sensations and seductions to pool and percolate in the grooves between the music and to bring forth additional tones and textures, atmosphere’s and anticipations that are more than the sum of the songs parts.

Listen to “Take It or Leave It” again, and you will hear all of this, and perhaps more, at work. You just have to know how to listen. You know how to listen, don’t you?