First Listen: Holy Other "Held"

Holy Other made quite a splash with his EP “With U” last year. It presented five quite diverse, but altogether ambient tunes, mixed with mellow beats and ethereal vocals that can place him in a witchy post-dubstep category, somewhere between Burial and Balam Acab. He did some remixes for other artists as well, like How To Dress Well’s “Suicide Dream 2”, which was posted on this blog some time ago.

His first LP “Held” is due out on Tri Angle on August 27th and is now streaming at Bleep. Bleep is an online music shop originally initiated by Warp in 2004, but it features exciting elecronic music by other labels like Ninja Tune or Domino, too. (Nice shop title, by the way.) It has a weird way of limiting the stream though, so you will have to rip it to listen to the album without interruptions. But it is worth listening to without those, because while “With U” was a collection of disparate songs, the new LP has a much more coherent way to it.

The single songs and the whole album has a way of holding the listener in a state of semi-consiousness. The ghostly vocals and the synths let him slide to the brink of daydreaming, but there is always some dark beat or a change in tempo to grip his attention and pull him back into this world. It is a balance that does not come easily, and it shows an intuitive knowledge of timing and composition. In the title track “Held” for example it is the breakdown halfway in that lets you completely let loose, before the suddenly higher pitched vocals and a piano gets a hold of some other part of your brain and gently wakes it up.

The album has a primal sense of longing to it, but it fills this longing at the same time, with beauty and just the right amount of gravity so not to get lost in this feeling. The opener “W(here)” is a wordplay on that sensation, and although the corresponding closer is called “Nothing here”, there definitely is something there after listeing to the record. There are no lyrics on the tracks apart from modulated vocal samples of the song titles, but they are significant nonetheless – or so much more for it. “Love Some1” is one of the heavier and weaker tracks, but the only other one open for streaming at soundcloud. So listen to the whole album once it is published, or use your geek knowledge to do a complete sneak pre-listen at Bleep, it is worth it.


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