Holy Other // Held // August 28 // Tri Angle
What do you do when you’re late to the biggest party of the year and nearly everyone has moved on and left. Put your sad face on and leave without even having a drink? Not in Holy Other’s case. The mysterious producer from England is soldiering on within the done to death ambient drag genre years after everyone stopped caring. Tri Angle, who are the only ones in love with this sort of stuff, didn’t have any problems picking him up to release Held which feels like a little more than embarrassing echoes of the past.
Don’t call Holy Other witch house no matter how much you’d like to. Sure, the nine tracks on Held move in slow tempos across the ambient landscape sprinkled with 808s and sampled vocals stretched and slowed down to give it a ghostly quality. The thing is, Holy Other’s music feels more like a warm blanket to keep you cozy in the night time rather than spooky soundtrack for abandoned houses. It’s the sort of Tumblr friendly bedroom pop for goth wannabes who enjoy photoshopping upside down crosses on Lil’ Wayne’s forehead. To view the quality of Held you have to put it against the genre that was barely alive two years ago and soon you’ll realise that not only it doesn’t make the case for itself years after everyone stopped caring, it fares terribly when compared to the greats of drag. It comes closest to the ambiance of Balam Acab but lacks detail to make it interesting or as passionate as Holy Other wants it to be. Held feels like a drag’s own love album but it leaves the listener cold due to lack of love input when making it. Drag tends to create the feeling of drear and emptiness but Held displays the wrong end of the term emptiness.
To give Holy Other some slack, he’s not the only one still lurking through the dark corridors and dimly lit streets. This year we also had the darkness infused releases from Evian Christ and Wih’lo and while both of them approach drag as something that could be molded into a pop song, Holy Other is fine with not really taking these songs anywhere. The stuff on Held almost qualifies as drone thanks to it’s reluctance to take turns and instead just slowly crawls towards eventually fizzling out. Just like pretty much every bedroom producer in the world right now, Holy Other plays with the night time R&B and soul samples to mixed effects. While tracks like U Now and the highlight Nothing Here combines cut up vocals to make a pattern, tracks like Love Some1 are fine with looping one poorly cut vocal part until it’s not even interesting anymore. A lot of people are name dropping How To Dress Well, The Weeknd and even Burial as artists to compare to but rest assured, Holy Other doesn’t do songs on here that would change the way people see R&B and garage. Held, despite fitting with the drag scene, offers absolutely nothing to it.
Take this bedroom ambient record and back it up with the fact that Holy Other is mysterious and you might as well not give it a single chance. It lives up to pretty much every cliche thrown at meaningless internet sub-genres. It has no depth, no value, it’s pretentious as anything and yet it gives nothing to set it apart from myriad of other bedroom producers who are taking first steps to learn how to use Reason software. Songs on Held are Soundcloud demo quality. Trust Tri Angle to pick it up for release, twats.