Holy Other
With U


3.5
great

Review

by conradtao EMERITUS
June 14th, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Holy Other's effortlessly atmospheric slow jams are arresting and further solidify Tri Angle's position at the vanguard of the witch house scene.

If 2010 was the year of the "hipster occult", 2011 looks to be the year where the music born out of that triangle-laden movement starts to be taken really seriously. Melding throbbing bass with plinking synth lines and digitally altered vocal samples, With U, the debut EP from the anonymous Holy Other, fits neatly into the ill-named "witch house" subgenre. Yet it's also something of a rarity in that camp - the bass kicks don't clip, and, more importantly, these tracks aren't really that spooky. Sure, they're dragged-out and make significant use of sub bass and reverb, but they're more ethereal and mysterious than anything else. "Touch", which made considerable waves upon its release this past spring, is almost a love song, what with its repetition of "I've been looking for your touch." The longing is real, even if the voice expressing it has been pitch-shifted to death. And that cover art is perfectly vague - is it "just" a bedsheet (already brimming with implications), or is that really a face behind the covers? And if it is, is it alive?

Okay, maybe I was wrong - With U is kind of creepy. But Holy Other takes their cues less from the chopped-and-screwed hip-hop and juke beats that were such enormous influences on Salem and oOoOO and more from '80s R&B - the EP's title track, defiantly clean production aside, wouldn't sound terribly out of place on Love Remains, the justifiably acclaimed debut from R&B revisionist (and Tri Angle labelmate) How to Dress Well. Indeed, when Holy Other's brand of shadowy, deconstructed pop works - and on With U, it almost always does - it's enchanting. Opener "Know Where" is effortlessly atmospheric, its disembodied vocal samples and loping beat ensconcing the listener in an arresting and subtly unsettling environment. It doesn't really go anywhere, per se, but that's not it's purpose - rather, it's a beautiful piece of spectral navel-gazing, formless and sinuous all at once. "Yr Love" is similarly successful in its hypnotic repetition and eschewal of traditional song structure for ambience. It's lovely, it really is, but on a 23-minute EP, one can't help wishing for something a bit more substantial - that is, memorable. But if With U is ultimately too slight and amorphous to live up to the promise of "Touch", it does establish Holy Other as a highly promising producer and helps to continue solidifying the validity of "witch house" as an actual subset of music worth listening to instead of just another flavor of the month with an unfortunate moniker. Just don't bother losing any sleep over it.



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user ratings (76)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Adash (4)
Holier Than Thou...


Comments:Add a Comment 
conradtao
Emeritus
June 14th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Two reviews on the front page. Deal with it, etc.



You can stream the EP on Altered Zones' soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/alteredzones/sets/holy-other-with-u/s-y5oEq

Tyrael
June 14th 2011


21113 Comments


Great review as usual Conrad.
I never expected the 'witch house' term to actually catch on outside of pitchfork.

Deviant.
Emeritus
June 14th 2011


32225 Comments


And now you say Witch House..... ugh

Long plane ride?

Digging: Lapalux - Amnioverse

conradtao
Emeritus
June 14th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not that long. Mexico to JFK.



Sorry, Jason! The temptation is too great. Although if any of you guys aren't familiar with the basic "witch house" sound it has roots in dubstep, hip hop, and in this case, house.

Deviant.
Emeritus
June 14th 2011


32225 Comments


You're forgetting darkwave (which is another fun name). It's essentially that with a semi-dance beat

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2011


7502 Comments


Solid review; pos for you Conrad =)

Adash
June 15th 2011


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah you massive prick, i just did a review for this. Oh well, have a well deserved positron anyway





lobby
August 29th 2011


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Liking this a lot

cryptside
March 18th 2015


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really love this EP. It seems so expansive and lush.



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