Combining the fluid, reconstructed beats of late-era British bass music with lush/dense harmonies, it’s been hard to miss Jack Grace’s singular production style vibrating through the Australian underground over the past 18 months. Filtered through a prism of forward-thinking artists as well as his own releases, Grace’s surreal blend of hazy VHS soul and footwork beats first attracted attention with 2016’s River, with his last single, ‘All Lost’ championed by peers and tastemakers Flume, Nick Murphy and Kllo.
Jack Grace’s latest collection, If I Tremble EP (2018), marks him as an Australian producer not just to watch, but to feel. A study in solitude, it’s also the sound of discovering lightness through the dark. “I don’t have hangups about writing sad stuff because it was always something I related to when I was younger,” Grace laughs. “It makes me feel good!” It’s certainly not the first time Australia’s heard from the Newcastle-born musician, whose deft touch extended across multiple releases last year. As a producer, arranger and music director, Grace’s unique magic could be found underpinning new material from Ngairre (Blastoma), BUOY (Immersion + Break eps) and alongside fellow aural adventurer, Christopher Port.
Having trained as a classical and jazz pianist from an early age, Jack Grace has always embraced his ability to pull at the edges of sound, falling somewhere between the sonic wizardry of James Blake and challenge of bandleaders like Bill Evans. “Jazz players really affected the attitude in which I approached songs, where the harmony never becomes stagnant,” he explains. “You almost have to sit forward for a second [to get it], to me, there’s so much beauty in that.”
Written between Grace’s Sydney homes studio upstate New York and Marseille If I Tremble's gorgeous experimentalism is likely to make even more listeners lean in and pay attention. Candid songwriting set to beats that draw you in, as only Jack Grace’s music can.