Review Summary: Holier Than Thou
Thick synths vibrate slowly over the desolate soundscape, oozing agonizingly through the murk like dark honey and seeping through miniscule cracks in the beat skeleton, coating the percussion in an irresistible layer of velvety smoothness. Chiming tones merge with the softest of whispers, echoing through the darkness. Dawn hesitates to emerge from her nocturnal slumbers, but is gradually coaxed out from behind the gaping horizon. Ever so slowly, velveteen whispers resonate through the empty streets; at a snails pace life begins to stir, and finally a fluttering heartbeat resounds through graffiti coated dark grey spaces.
Holy Other, the shadowy phantom lurking behind the murk, is little known outside of the desolate wastelands of his native city. Yet despite having only a handful of releases to his name, his reputation as a producer to be reckoned with precedes him; his We Over
7” garnered serious airplay across his home town, was a perfect introduction to his own deep, desolate style of dubstep, and foreshadowed his latest effort, the five track stunner With You
. There’s no point beating around the bush; this is indubitably a superior effort, and stands as one of the better EP’s released this year.
The spectacular title track features ominous burning analogues blending with the most delicate bells and softly ringing tones whilst a stuttering voice surges overhead. The voices grow and grow, gradually overwhelming the listener with their serene yet soulful insistence. Whilst cut up and pitch bended vocals are nothing new in the UK music scene, it is evident that Holy Other does them better than most. His particular talent lies in piecing together disparate voices, and then letting them breathe, filling the swirling ether with emotive sighs, chilling whispers and downright beautiful murmurs. By leaving the vocals to expire of their own volition, he fills the spaces in between the beats with a soft and melancholy beauty that often is lacking in the music of producers with less patience. His technique comes to fruition most prominently in the astounding Touch
, where a plethora of poignant whispers culminate in a whirling call and response flecked with devastatingly sensual sadness.
Quite simply, With U
enthrals from the moment that the thudding heartbeat of Know Where
kicks in, and it doesn’t let up once. This is one of the gems of the shadowy leftfield of the new decade; a haunting, often mesmerizing slab of sinuous and twisting gloom that can proudly take its place in the ever mutating aural pantheon of London.