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CD Feature/ Ian Holloway: "Walking through Fireflies"

img  Tobias

Sadness and sorrow are no prerequisits for art, but they can certainly stimulate creative processes. Neil Young tried coping with the deaths of Danny Whitten and Bruce Berry on the horrifically beautiful “Tonight’s the Night”, an album that translated  numbness and the inability to speak into a universal sentiment. For Ian Holloway, too, loss has been at the centre of his most recent output. “Walking through Fireflies” is a tribute to his friend Vic Golightly, who died of cancer last year. It has turned out a soft requiem and his most personal album to date.

The motivation for the album also explains why Holloway has dropped his Psychic Space Invasion pseudonym this time. When he speaks of Golightly, he does so with tenderness and with the memories still fresh: “Just being around him made me smile” - a work like this knows no distance.

The music, too, has taken a turn and even though the PSI handwriting is still all over the place, there are a couple of tracks which step outside of what we have come to expect and tread new ground. The appropriately titled “New Season”, for example, with its circular chord scheme played by a detuned and delayed piano. Or the closing “Sunnyshine”, a gaping black hole of dark breathings, spaceous hiss and depressed melodies. The rhythmic aspect of “Pendulum”, his previous release, has all but disappeared, even though the mysterious flutter within his drones has remained, this notion of inner agitation.

Most of the tracks are no longer driven by minute development, but rather by swelling and decaying sheets of sound, as well as the stretches of near-silence which seperate them from each other. The radio scramble-like noise collage, “A lighter Being” is a noticeable exception. But it’s merely a short moment of concreteness, before the blackened pads, distorted and downwardly transposed vocal samples and the metronomic curve of loudness and quietude return.

Towards the end, the pieces get longer, epically contorted and more disturbing. Needly hands are tearing at the “Tower of Winds”, as if the transmission were being coded, before the aforementioned “Sunnyshine” closes the door. Somehow, though, the experience is not all darkness, but rather a sort of woeful, yet releiving way of saying goodbye.

Holloway always finds the light and the will to carry on in his music and there is something solemn and strenghening in it, despite its sad and sorrowful connotations. There is a strong transformational character to “Walking through Fireflies” – one we can all experience.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Ian Holloway/Psychic Space Invasion at MySpace
Homepage: Quiet World Records

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