HOLLAN HOLMES: Prayer to the Energy (2017)
“Soft, exquisite and lyrical with the two sides of Hollan Holmes, this Prayer to the Energy is this perfect album to relax without falling asleep, although that cd2....”
1 Prayer to the Energy 6:04 2 Insulated 4:58 3 Darkness and Light 5:20 4 Great Expectations 5:03 5 Lucid Dreams 6:45 6 That Ephemeral Spark 7:27 7 We Can Never Go Back 6:58 8 A Midwinter Night's Dream 19:26 CD2 (59:46) 1 The Suspension of Time 7:59 2 Cloud World 7:04 3 Cover of Darkness 7:46
4 Sublime Stasis 9:13 5 Breathing 7:49 6 Cerro Torre 19:43 Hollan Holmes Music
(CD/DDL 121:59) (V.F.) (Light sequenced, Pacific School)
I discovered the music of Hollan Holmes with his wonderful The Spirits of Starlight, appeared on summer 2014. Then came Incandescent in spring 2015 and this PRAYRER TO THE ENERGY that was released at the start of this year. And I just can't imagine that this brilliant American musician doesn't get more meditative attention than some comments on Facebook. It's how that I heard about these 2 albums. The Texan musician would say to us that the music of the first CD was thought and developed with a wintry spirit, where snowflakes swirl as dragonflies on coke, that I would not be really surprised. The movement of sequences, to say the least on the first CD, is as light as a crazy snow and trace very harmonious rhythmic patterns which stick to the eardrums. Offered as much in downloadable format as in manufactured CD, I heard that the artwork is very beautiful and is illustrated of Hollan Holmes' paintings, PRAYRER TO THE ENERGY is an album in two phases with a first package of 62 delicious minutes which are nibbled by a panoply of electronic rhythms sculptured with a very harmonious vision.
Prayer to the Energy sets the tone with a structure of polyphased rhythms where several lines of sequences meet in a rhythmic crossroads which turns in all directions. Even in its membrane of stellar poetry, the rhythm is frenzied and tumbles by abrupt jerks in a sound crossroads which favors the disorder. Catchy on the ear and lively for the fingers, the crowding in sequences leaves the latitude necessary for Holland Holmes so that he can trace beautiful moments of emotionalism and intensity with chords and divine arrangements which seize the listening. Shorter, Insulated raises the rhythmic aim higher with a lively movement and jerkier than the title-track. The effect of echo, or rhythmic canon, in the structure reminds me enormously those of Steve Roach in Now and Traveller. Darkness and Light is a very nice ballad. The movement is slower with good oscillations in the rhythm which is supported by sober electronic percussions. More iridescent sequences give a beautiful harmonious contrasting effect and allows us to smell the delicacy of Holmes in the design of his electronic landscapes. Layers of voices make the emotions more magical whereas sharper synth lines add a good shroud of intensity to this nice e-ballad mounted on a carousel of sequences stuffed with contrasting tones. We speak about intensity? Great Expectations doesn't give its place! It's a nice ambiospherical slow ride with a guitar which fools our sense of hearing by scattering its harmonious riffs, like the movement of the sequencer. The music is very intense and could fit marvellously with a music of a dramatic movie where the solitary hero is crying his soul out in the desert. Lucid Dreams brings us towards the more meditative territories of the second CD. The main movement of twinkling sequences blacksmith of ambient rhythms is flooded in a somber soundscape which is tinted by slow morphic wings. That Ephemeral Spark is another good meditative slow beat with a brilliant movement of the sequencer where crystal-clear chords swirl with attractive nuances in other sequences a bit organic. Here as everywhere in this album, sonic pearls sparkling like stars modify slightly the harmonious portion of the rhythmic basis. We easily dream about angels with this title while the storm that is We Can Never Go Back is forged around a livelier and a starver movement. The arrangements, as well as the race of the rhythm, give a momentum of suspense rather intense. The first CD sells its last minutes spot to the epic A Midwinter Night's Dream. Recorded during the Star's End radio show, hosted by the famous Chuck Van Zyl, the movement proposes a long sound journey through movements of sequences divided between rhythmic and meditative phases with good impulses, like some nice withdrawn, between rebel sequences and others submitted to the evolutionary temperaments of the music. The first minutes are very intense with good implosions coming from a dramatic effect of a bass which pierces the rigor of a sober but insistent movement of a sequencer in mode; what goes up comes down. The music borrows another tangent around the 9th minute. The movement remains intense with a dark and intrusive sound shroud where the sequences skip in the jingling of wintry harmonies. That remains very striking, one would say stars of glass which burst on an opaque dome of sounds, and while the music invades its last den, Hollan Holmes adds some more of melancholy with a finale frozen in the pleasant harmonies of a celestial choir. This first CD is a monument comparable to The Spirits of Starlight that I had devoured my emotions in the ceiling.
I won't lie to you; the CD 2 is make for dodo! To help you sleep! And The Suspension of Time indicates us the posology used by the Texan sculptor of ambiences with nice synth shadows which float like the caresses of Morpheus. Other layers feed the touching vision of Hollan Holmes in respect of a fascinating compassionate communication between the author and those ears thirsty for this need of serenity to the Zen music lover. It's as much beautiful and meditative as the most beautiful music of Juta Takahashi. There is a lot of warmth in these winged caresses, like here and like in the astral journey of Cloud World with vibes and elements of ambiences which describe well the color of the title. Cover of Darkness is indeed darker. But always, there are these opalescent lines which squeak like specters of glass scratching walls of concrete in a mass of hollow breezes. Adopting a rise of vibes which feigns a crescendo of emotions, Sublime Stasis is more ethereal, even with these snores of the oblivion, while Breathing blows the hot and the cold with a vision that caresses both opposite. Steve Roach's imprints resist the originality of Hollan Holmes in his creation of meditative music. There are few tribal elements, even if long drones are making oblong repetitive detours in the opening of Cerro Torre. Also performed within the framework of Star's End, this time it was for a Halloween Special in 2016, this long sonic river binds itself to our senses with a mixture of slow movements filled with threatening hummings and with more irradiant shadows which unite their contrasts in some nice floating orchestrations. The breezes sound like a choir that we would hear by far underneath the ground while the music always stays of a sibylline nature with rises of adrenalin that wrap us such as sonic waves covering our peace of mind. And like real waves, there are always residues when they go back to the sea and come to cover us again of sounds. And it's there that Michael Stearns' cosmic waves spatter over those music washes. Intense, due to its slow and patient immersive movement, Cerro Torre reaches a pinnacle of emotivity, which leaves little room to serenity, when the music crumbles its last breezes in a cloud of humming that can annoy an ear on the edge to fall asleep. Introducing thus a battle so that Cerro Torre has not to end.
Sylvain Lupari (November 24th, 2017) *****
Available at Hollan Holmes Bandcamp