“Milestones” -marking Hollan’s debut on the established Spotted Peccary label- had a long way coming, not only as life got in the way. It actually deals with the marking points in the composer’s life where he grew (emotionally and intellectually) the most.
Following his prior release “Prayer To The Energy”, Hollan first began concentrating all efforts on his art career, because it became his primary focus with regard to financial income. In 2017, the composer ran into Howard Givens (co-founder of Spotted Peccary Music) at a Steve Roach concert in Tucson, Arizona and approached him about the possibility of releasing his seventh album on the SP label. He was receptive and agreed to listen to the new material whenever it was ready. Eventually work on new material began early 2018 without any overall theme or concept for the project. In the process of shaping and moulding his music, Howard gave some constructive criticism and gentle guidance while keeping Hollan onto a solid, creative path to make sure he would deliver the best he could eventually. Now that the music was done Chad Kettering, once again, did the (initial) mastering, but Howard followed up with some adjustments made possible by some specialized gear to which Kettering did not have access. As such they took Holmes’ work to the next level providing it some top-notch mastering eventually.
Well, all efforts have led to a work of contemporary electronic music presenting 10 inspired tracks ranging between five and seven minute duration. This time around and compared to his previous work, “Milestones” covers a broad range of styles while it also takes a different approach in regard to compositional arrangements and dynamics: a few pieces are in line with Holmes’ traditional sequenced runs but one will notice there actually are a lot of thrilling dynamics at play in these pieces with minimalist patterns fading in/out. Simply check out the stellar “One Giant Leap”, “Inner Sanctum” and sweeping “Something Wicked This Way Comes” for that while a reflective realm shimmers through the elegant “Slipstream” and slightly mourning “The Phone Call” as they’re always evolving and very melodic in their nature.
The last composition on the album, the highly emotive and captivating “Ayyappan”, was inspired by Hollan’s very dear Indian friend by the same name, a person he considers among the most kind and gentle souls he’s ever met. An interesting detail as his name is the same as the Hindu God of growth, as such connecting to the marking points in Hollan’s life mentioned earlier. I rate the 65-minute “Milestones” another well-accomplished work but also a different breed considering his previous releases.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Hollan Holmes artist page
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