HOLLAND HOLMES: Incandescent (2015)
“Here's the perfect mixture of ambient and sequence structures loaded of multiple sound effects and soundshines which oversize incredibles soundscapes”
1 First Light 7:59 2 The Year's First Rain 7:39 3 Letting Go 7:35 4 Valley of the Rocks 7:08 5 Earth Song 8:05 6 Interstellar Lullaby 5:35 7 The Inevitability of Change 8:09 8 Ancient Atmosphere 7:54 9 Incandescent 7:25 Hollan Holmes Music
(CD/DDL 67:47) (V.F.)
(Sequenced and ambient Pacific School)
2018 is truly and well underway with an avalanche of musical productions that doesn't stop accumulating on my desk. But there is always of these pearls which date from 2 to 3 years, sometimes even more, and that we sent me in order to charm even more my ears. And these ears, which are constantly soaked with music, are indeed amazed and question my brain to know where was I when this album landed on the Net or in tubs. INCANDESCENT is among this list of albums that have escaped to my attention in 2015. And yet, I had been totally conquered by the brilliant The Spirits of Starlight which was realized one year earlier! First of all, let's greet this complete artist that is Hollan Holmes. In the era of the digital technology and albums in downloadable format, the Texan sculptor of soundscapes feels at ease as well in the visual arts as with musical instruments. Wrapped in a nice eco-cartoon artwork of 6 panels embellished with great paints and pictures that he designed by itself, this 5th album of Hollan Holmes is dedicated to the late Richard Burmer, an American artist and a musician who was the vein of Steve Roach, Robert Rich and others. Artists who influenced the music of Hollan Holmes.
First Light begins this album mainly desirable for meditation with a music which goes reverse of my last words. The rhythm is animated in a motionless state with sequences which quickly alternate their jumps. These keen oscillations sculpt a volley of scissors' hits which cut out about ten crumbs of notes by minute. These fragments fall in a random way to be transformed into electronic effects which are at the diapason of an astral luminosity. Musical and lyrical, First Light is delicately propelled by the impulses of a bass line and\or by an accumulation of the static effects which repulses the rhythmic crumbs of fascinating ghostly impulses. A music which joins with dignity in Steve Roach's influences and his epic Now/Traveller. The music of INCANDESCENT seems to describe a journey. A journey in the Monument Valley from where is pulled the artwork of the album. Taking away the threat of thunders, The Year's First Rain is a little jewel where pearls a swarm of sequences and carillons which run on the same pace. Synth lines are waving with the same appetite of the motionless beat which aims to be extremely musical and lyrical. Bells, sequences and undulating lines form a strong hypnotic symbiosis where hang onto some ferocious bass pulsations and layers of seraphic voices. The sound aestheticism here is at its high with this pleiad of elements which converge on the same destination without having the same artifices. Another solid title! Now, I wrote higher about the influences of Steve Roach on the music of Hollan Holmes, Letting Go does nothing to mitigate this perception. The sequencer is more alert, more incisive than on First Light whereas impulses of bass sequences dominate this perception that the music travels like a race of clouds. Let's say that I spent a great 23 minutes of Pacific School style as I love it. Valley of the Rocks starts the ambient ascension of this album. A bank of mist filled with sound particles moves forward as a threat between my ears. Ambient but intense! It's the most honest description to describe well the ambient music of the Texan musician. Helped by effects of cymbals, the music progresses by fattening its structure with a multitude of lines in tones and in ill-assorted forms. And its climb is knotted up and propelled by other effects of sound backwashes, so creating a poignant and intense climate of ascent. A strange whistling decorates even more our fascination at the very end. It's a piece of piccolo composed and played by Richard Burmer a few years ago. A delight!
Earth Song sinks between our ears with an anesthetic heaviness. Wide layers of tones wrap us in a meditative state while the intensity of the music, and of its parallel effects, nails us literally on the spot, open-mouthed. I like these sound elements which decorate the music of Hollan Holmes of scarlet streaks and of lunar effects which are without doubts the nightly reflections beneath the stars in the immense plains of the American deserts where cactus, and other botanical elements, are as specters congealed in the night-coldness. Interstellar Lullaby is a jewel of tenderness that I prescribed you without hesitation. It's one of the most beautiful sound poems than I heard. Simply wonderful and impossible to describe. The Inevitability of Change is more in the linear, in the minimalist kind with its strong advance of mist packed by striations which filter lines illuminated of incarnate elements. Ancient Atmosphere is more peaceful with its carpet of tonal winds which floats against an armada of more warlike breezes. The meeting between two vast fields of winds creates a big stir in the sky which bubbles like a hurricane without appetite. The title-track exploits themes already exploited in this album with another gravitational structure which moves forward without wanting to make of concession, except that to conclude an impressive journey of Hollan Holmes in the lands in colors of INCANDESCENT. I would have reorganized the order of the titles but for the rest, it's a wonderful album which gives the taste to discover the music of this brilliant sculptor of musical panoramas who comes to us from a region where this kind came resolutely from somewhere else. Now that's an exploit my dear Hollan!
Sylvain Lupari (March 15th, 2018) ****½*
Available at Hollan Holmes Bandcamp