Holy Other – Reviewed and Revealed

Rachael Jones took a step into the unknown in search of Holy Other…

Hosted by Liverpool Music Week and those cool cats known as Deep Hedonia, the trifecta of Fort Romeau, Vessel and Holy Other arrived at Camp and Furnace as the opening salvo of the Park Bank Holiday weekender. And a jolly good time it was, too.

Having never actually been to The Blade Factory at Camp and Furnace prior to heading down there for Holy Other, its white walls and stark appearance make it a pretty perfect venue for this sort of thing.

First up on the bill is Holy Other’s Tri-Angle labelmate Vessel, aka Sebastian Gainsborough. If we could review Vessel’s set in one word, it would be bass. With a big B-A-S-S. However, we can’t get away with that sort of thing so a few more words should probably be forthcoming … let’s try eerie, unorthodox and subversive instead.

Listening to his set unfold it strikes us that it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific genre, but it makes for an intriguing rather than frustrating listen.  There are definite nods to classic techno, but Floorfillers: Ad Nauseam this ain’t. Instead it’s a detailed, clangy, unconventional noisiest … we like it a lot.

Manchester-based producer Holy Other has historically been pretty protective over his visage, making public appearances shrouded in a suitably mysterious black cowl and refusing to tell anyone his name. It’s got to be said that we’re not usually into the whole ‘I’m going to conceal my face’ thing when we head out to a gig, but every Holy Other tune we’ve heard has been every level of awesome so we arrived totally prepared to forgive him for it.

Turns out we needn’t have worried, as this tour also serves as Holy Other’s big reveal. Unveiled, he looks a bit like Michael Cera (and we mean that with love). In fact, we might have even preferred it had he kept his face covered. Atmosphere and all that. But we digress.

Having already stormed Liverpool supporting Little Dragon a few months back (a gig we regrettably missed), Holy Other’s musical purpose for the evening is to advertise his first full-length CD (and follow-up to last year’s EP With U), Held.

Dreamy, manipulated vocals form chantlike accompaniments on tracks such as Held and opener Tense Past, an almost drone-esque sound that, when combined with the slow tempo and the ominous, reverb-heavy tone means these tunes occasionally sound like they’d be more at home in a monastery. Its downbeat and sombre yet oddly uplifting; optimistic, even.

The haunting element is reinforced by casting a cursory eye around the audience. While this isn’t exactly dance-friendly music, watching an entire crowd bobbing their heads to the beat while standing perfectly still has a mesmerizing effect.

We’re essentially hypnotised by the end – so much so, it took us a few seconds to even realise it was over.

Between the acts we have Mike Collins, otherwise known as Fort Romeau. His set consists of deep house grooves and intriguing beats. Surprising us a tad with just how refreshing we found it all, it looks like Mike is shedding the mantle of ‘him what plays keyboards for La Roux’ and establishing himself as an artist in his own right.

Gig over, and we head out for the rest of a night with a lot to live up to. Deep Hedonia have spent the last few months building a rep as one of the city’s most interesting promoters, and they don’t look like relinquishing that mantle anytime soon.

Rachael Jones

Posted on 10/09/2012 by thedoublenegative