Andrew Lee, aka Holy Hum didn’t set out to make a record that centred on the death of his father but when creating what would become his debut record ‘All Of My Bodies’, the Vancouver based musician inadvertently forged an album that helped provide a certain type of catharsis. It was something he didn’t feel he wanted to share with the world but the overall outcome proved that to come to terms with such a seismic moment in his life – committing such an intimate, personal experience to wax has given the artist the emotional outlet he
didn’t quite know he needed.
The album’s eponymous, opening track sets the tone of the record; warping withdrawn synths envelope skittering beats while Lee’s disembodied slur positions itself somewhere between disconnected and a kind of numbness associated with grief. Lee can be heard exploring his own mortality “how do you say to someone/this is all there ever is/this all there ever will be”. It’s a stark, human touch in a record that has two feet planted in the organic and the synthetic ends of the sonic spectrum.
‘Holy Hum’ is a delicate, melancholic record, one that’s built on vapour-like synth motifs, slurred vocals and subtle nuances that create a dreamy haze. Despite the album’s lowkey status, it’s minimalism holds your attention and sometimes the faintest motif can stop you in your tracks; ‘Heavy Lark’s tense strumming casts a dark shroud over the mid-point of the record and when combined with an intermittent drum beat, the song manoeuvres into a brooding, darker territory. ‘Flower In The Snow’s sparse arrangements carry an ethereal coo whereas shadowy textures and stark motifs frame ‘Sex at 31’s withdrawn fug. It’s here where Lee exposes his frailties and his coping mechanisms towards the passing of his father “I think I’ve had enough to drink but just one more to get me through the year”. Whereas the following lyric perhaps embellishes a cynical, self- deprecating side to grieving a loved one “what kind of heartbreak are we looking for?”. ‘White Fuzz’ the record’s centre piece, sprawls for ten minutes – commencing in a fragile manner before dissolving into the frazzled mess of a discordant, improvised guitar solo; this is the living embodiment of grief – as it merges a numbness and the spasmodic flurries of emotion and pain.
‘All Of My Bodies’ is a fitting tribute to the passing of a loved one.
This album is dedicated to Joo Won Lee (1948 – 2011)
Words and Thoughts by Adam Williams