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CD Feature/ Ian Holloway: "A lonely Place"

img  Tobias
In my opinion, there are a lot of musicians out there who could learn a bit from Ian Holloway. Founder of the now defunt Elvis Coffee label, running the new Quiet World imprint, releasing under the Psychic Space Invasion moniker and, slightly more recently, under his real name as well as publishing reviews of some of his favourite artists in the wonderful Wonderful Wooden Reasons WebZine, Holloway is the kind of artist who only publishes music when he really feels he has something to say and produces it in quantities that display both his appreciation for the collector’s aspect of experimental music and a realistic estimation of his tracks’ chances of entering the UK charts any time soon.

In short, Holloway is the epitomisation of a genuinely honest composer. Of course, he craves for feedback, for recognition and, ultimately, for selling a few copies of his albums. But never ever does one get the impression that he could ever find himself in the situation of cluttering online stores with his releases, simply because he could. “A lonely place” is a great case in point, all the way from digging out the CD from the heavy-paper fold-out package, which opens into a psychedelic redly orange skyscape lit by a delirious sun, to listening to the music contained within.

Compared to predecessor “Walking on Fireflies”, “A lonely place” is much more of a drastic and experimental offering. While the former’s pieces were concise, poignant, melodic and filled with a romantic desire of undoing the past (essentially, this was an electronic requiem for a friend), the latter’s single, 38-minute piece gauges what lies behind the precipice: A vortex-like fall from great heights into an uncertain void, filled with whispering sheets of scraping sound, barely touching the borders of audibility and suggesting there could be more hidden in its silent rump, like the hidden body of the floe that hit the Titanic.

Essentially, then, this is a drone work – and, quite frankly, one of frightening proportions and haunting intensity. There are artists who have gone down a similar path over the last couple of months – Jan-M Iversen springs to mind, with his terrifying “Drone 1.05” on Triple Bath- and yet, Holloway’s language here extends beyond that of his colleagues, aiming for an expressiveness capable of transforming these shapeless allusions into concrete and emotional forms, of rendering its dark clay into a malleable musical substance.

This musicality is why “A lonely place” is not just timbre and vague harmony, but a  composition with a distinct arrangement, with moments of beauty and of horror, of tension and relaxation, of inhaling and exhaling. After its gradual ascent to a solid state of threedimensional plasticity, it moulds its tonal threads into warm clouds, dissolving into cold Wah-Wah stutters and icey ambiances. Towards the end, the piece seems to build into a comforting finale before opting to slowly die down instead like a candle in an otherwhise empty cellar, fading out with a couple of loosely strummed guitar strings.

Needless to say this album is highly limited and all but unavailable already. In a suprising proposition, however, Ian Holloway has announced that his sold-out items can be downloaded for free from the Quiet World webpage. It is another move which shows his love for the arts, rather than to the business aspect of producing music  - and an honesty others could greatly benefit from as well.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Ian Holloway
Homepage: Quiet World Records

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