Linnea Olsson @ The Slaughtered Lamb, London 6 March
The world of new music has gone loopy for sequencing. One artist can recreate an ensemble, or perhaps even an orchestra, through sampling. There is a bit of set-up time for successful looping involved, and a need for precision that can send the most experienced musicians into an unexpected downwards spiral. Swedish cellist and purveyor of ‘chamber-pop’, Linnea Olsson, layers up her set and makes it look easy. She performs entirely solo, but look away from the stage and you’d swear a full band were up there with her. Perhaps having learnt a few tips from playing on Peter Gabriel’s tour, Linnea’s charisma is beguiling. She fills the room with her charm and she breezes through the necessary pre-recording set-up for her loop-layered performance. Even the slight pause for ‘technical difficulties’ does not jar when it is pre-faced by Linnea’s calm wittiness.
Linnea Olsson’s instruments are a resonant cello and a sweet clear voice. Although sharing some song writing sensibilities with her peer, Ane Brun, Linnea’s music tends towards pop. Her vocals trip through ‘Giddy Up’ and radio-friendly ‘Dinosaur’ in a cheerily uplilting contrast to the cello’s trademark mourn. Matching cello to Linnea’s Nina Persson-esque lightness works well. In set opener, ‘Ocean’, the cello’s full range of heart-breaking dourness is expressed: there are no vocals so without Linnea having to say anything the room quietens and we all pay attention.
Linnea Olsson’s folio of songs are quite firmly pop-oriented, but tonight she broadens out via a few delightful covers. She performs Massive Attack, Kraftwerk and Bjork songs, re-interpreting them for her voice and cello. Under her hands the songs become fresh again. She finds their sincerity. She prefaces her new song, ‘I Am Younger’, by telling us that in rehearsal this song made her cry. It is about her family and the love she has for them. This is the only song she performs without her cello. She accompanies herself by looping and distorting her voice.
Linnea proves herself tonight as a creative, sincere and vital performer. She is definitely set on an ascending path to fame and acclaim. Catch her now while she can still play small venues, or you’re missing a treat.
Linnea Olsson’s tour continues. Check her website for details.