Holy Other! It sounds like the sort of phrase Robin would yell at Batman back in the Adam West days of the caped crusader, admittedly if Robin had used up all his other camp yet catchy proclamations of danger. Hey, when you’re under pressure wearing tight spandex it can be hard to imaginative with your warning signs!
As tenuous as that sounds Holy Other, the brainchild of an unnamed Mancunian music producer does have an affinity with the dark knight, not that Holy Other is a masked crime fighter, more in the fact the ambient soundscapes that spill across debut album, Held, conjure up the images of mysterious and murky scenes that happen in the twilight hours, where only nocturnal creatures lurk. Electronics hum and murmur as deconstructed beats flicker like out of service street lamps. Held is nothing but atmospheric, but only the kind of atmosphere that is recognised after the sun goes down and the shadows come out to play. Adding to the notion that the true identity of Holy Other is shrouded in secrecy only adds to the aloof mystique Held invokes. Think moon lit under passes, deserted streets, shadows moving across dank stairwells and you’ve entered the world of Holy Other.
Held is mainly instrumental, as the clouds of synth and digital glitches are at the forefront of Holy Other’s work, however when a vocal comes into the mix, it’s used more as a secondary instrument or added textural layer. The vocals are spun through Holy Other’s many boxes of tricks making the voices sound otherworldly and almost unrecognisable as speech. There are times throughout Held where is it hard to decipher if the noises you hear are digital soundbites or a manipulated vocal take.
One man electronic purveyors are as common as a terrible British summer, but it’s refreshing to know that Held isn’t just another hodge-bodge laptop made creation, Holy Other has taken select elements from contemporary music like R ‘n’ B, UK garage and house music, but filtered out all the twee chart friendly crap and extracted the darker stems to forge an album of brooding, sinister intrigue…something to play in the batmobile maybe?!
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams