Friday, December 23, 2011

Best of 2011: Holy Other - With U (12" EP)

When Holy Other dropped his 7"single via Transparent in 2010 it sort of felt out of place. Transparent has their finger on the pulse but due to the diversity of their roster it was hard to really locate Holy Other's music on any continuum. And the single itself was half greatness with Yr Love and half unassured exploration with We Over. However, if Transparent was an odd birthing place, Tri Angle seemed a perfect homebase to unleash With U on the world. Somehow, an artist who seemed mysterious, got even more mysterious... but his sound had evolved too; he sounded much more assured as he was getting bolder, which is a rare balance to strike.

Every song on With U is totally different, however they fit thematically. With U is the sort of musical introduction by an artist that suggests they are drawing from this rich palette, and just by combining elements in different increments they arrive at very different results. I'm thinking of, say, Seasons (Pre-Din) who blends drone, modern classical and out and out experimentation, but by combining them in different ways he creates works that are all unique. Holy Other has a similar ability, whether it's RnB, techno, ambient his ability to blend chopped vocal samples or a deep sub-bass synth lines with skittish beats in different increments seems to create not only very different songs, but songs that almost seem like they are in totally different genres. It almost seems an injustice to label With U as anything other than simply an 'electronic' album because any other genre or even sub-genre name just seems too limiting. With U is the sort of rare musical moment where an artist seems to be offering a brief of history of electronic music up until now combined with elements that hint at a bold future for a myriad of genres and electronic experimentation in general. Either way, this is the sort of confident songwriting that few artists have the capability of, especially when they are seamlessly blending genres like this. How does he do it? With U is the sort of album that wins over people that don't like this 'type' of music and leaves those that do love it in awe of the slight miracle of its existence.

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