This is not a record that should be listened to lightly, paused halfway through, cut off early or underestimated. After my first listen I was left feeling completely indifferent to the world around me with an inconsolable glaze, several plays later and the impact hasn’t worn off. As first track (W)here lurches to life with a sluggish heart-like beat, amid swirling vocal samples, it’s plain to see Holy Other hasn’t deviated drastically from his signature With U EP sound. The scope of emotions Held will evoke, however, is on another level.
The changes come in subtle nip and tucks. The vocal samples on Held take more of a central role than we heard on With U. They instantly set the mood of each track. When he wants you to feel remorse, it’ll come in a languished inhuman cry. In Difference gives off gleeful abandon in the most positvie sounding Holy Other cut to date, however, it doesn’t sound uncharacteristic. He keeps the bass in line, no more low shelves that would rattle the floor. He fully utillises the choric qualities of synths and pitched vocal samples, twinned to great effect on tracks like Tense Past. His beats sit comfortably in the background and let everything else wash over it, they retain all the warmth of his production.
At the end of it all you don’t really know where you stand. Truly a mixed bag. It’s intrusive and poignant nature doesn’t stop the listener from interpretating it in ways that it may not have been intended. Therein lies the beauty. In a world where people love to slap a genre tag on anything that rears its head, Holy Other has gone about making a record the only way he knows how, and it leaves us spellbound, and stranded without genre. And the best part – I think we’re only just getting to know him.