Hollan Holmes "Incandescent" CD
I have been always deeply impressed by Hollan Holmes' consistency in delivering a high quality, fully packed artful, self-released and glass mastered product. Aurally and visually delightful!!! This Texan soundsculptor keeps triumphantly on accomplishing his mission since the end of 2010, when his debut album "A Distant Light" was released and it seems like his 5th album, issued at March 27th, 2015, will be no exception. First visual impact is very strong as the front cover image features Hollan's stunningly breathtaking photo taken in the scenic Monument Valley, while returning from his Tucson trip. As usual for each release of Hollan Holmes, the CD is packaged in a glossy 6-panel eco wallet, designed by the artist. I am hooked immediately!!!
8-minute "First Light" ignites the journey with utterly glowing sequences, masterfully spreading across the early morning, sunbathed sceneries of Monument Valley. Lushly pulsing layers, ranging from softly spiraling through ear-tickling to rawer, machine-like, are harmoniously amalgamated and guarded by graciously nuanced panoramic drifts. As much refreshing as the morning breeze and as much spellbinding as the golden light projected on these thrillingly colossal sandstone formations. Actually, I have been fascinated by this piece since the very first time, when Hollan Holmes has introduced it as an accompaniment to his video footage, when hanging with the tribe at the Saguaro National Park. My memories are reawakened once again!!! Well-done, Hollan!!! Soothing sounds of thunderstorm announce the next piece, "The Year's First Rain", which are hauntingly merged with delicately tinkling sequences and reinforced by captivatingly melodious patterns. Additional vibrant pads continuously emerge, while warmly expansive cinematic washes delightfully sinuate across and quietly move to the fore, before swallowed by resurfacing rainy sounds surrounded by distant booming. Another big one!!! "Letting Go" unfolds quietly with lusciously shimmering sequencer structure meticulously coupled in the second half with gracefully elevating symphony of grandiose epic drones. "Valley Of The Rocks" delves into darker drone terrains, spaciously drifting, with mesmerizing pulses hovering in vague distances, while warmer layers sneak in and smoothly traverse through intensely evocative vistas. Towards the end, when fading away, the track embodies a subtle piccolo part composed by Richard Burmer, to whom Hollan Holmes dedicates this album. Recalled as one of Hollan Holmes' biggest influences, Richard Burmer was respected composer and synthesist, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 50 years. The next composition, gorgeously entitled "Earth Song", magnificently displays the album's artwork with utterly grandiose movements, soothingly sweeping and gracefully infinite, exploring iconic images of the southwest with towering desert cathedrals. Pure atmospheric authenticity at its most majestic, bravo, Maestro!!! "Interstellar Lullaby", another catchy title, stays on the path with its magnific undulations, symphonically sorrowful and splendidly immense, yet exquisitely counterpointed with glimpses of enchanting stillness. This must be a deep sky hymn!!! "The Inevitability Of Change" floats in a vast space of dazzlingly spectacular emptiness and completely reveals all the grace of awe-inspiring driftcarving. Enter now the Eden of sonic amorphousness!!! "Ancient Atmosphere" safely glides on the wings of enthrallingly humming quietudes sophisticatedly bridged with terrestrially billowing sceneries and transports the listener from transcendent void through breathtakingly magmatic and powerfully crescendoing flow of primordial drone magic into colossally enduring desert plains with crimson mesas. A truly rewarding listening experience awaits here, no question about that!!! Another Hall of Fame piece and as much magnificent as these magical natural wonders!!! The title composition "Incandescent" closes this monumentally immersing album with profoundly dronescaping texture, again exploring with all grace majestically scenic beauty of these stunning earthen carvings. Sublimely floating and meandering through gorgeously ethereal magnitudes. A really nice conclusion!!!
With deep respect to Hollan Holmes' all previous albums, "Incandescent" is another phenomenal recording of this extremely talented soundscaper and I think I am going to label it as his magnum opus. Yes, that's how crafted and triumphant is this work!!! Once I wrote that Hollan Holmes is living his dream, now, more than 3 years later, the dream is still alive and the journey continues. I am so happy about this, because Hollan Holmes again proves to be one of the leading virtuosos within the genre. 68-minute "Incandescent" is the best example of such mastery!!! Bravo, Hollan, you can be really proud of this album, because "Incandescent" is certainly one of the highlights of 2015!!! And not to forget, another Texan, Chad Kettering again leaves fingerprints of his mastering wizardry on this all-inclusive milestone.
Richard Gürtler (May 24, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)