Like many musicians, US-composer Hollan Holmes also experienced a growing challenge when starting work on a new album, with the goal to make the outcome different if not better than the previous one.
This formed the driving force behind “The Spirits Of Starlight”, and kept him going at times he wasn’t feeling too confident as the project progressed. While keeping focused on the task, Mr Holmes also did an outstanding job when it comes to the audio fidelity of his music, being able to do some serious upgrades in equipment in his studio along the mastering expertise of Chad Kettering.
In keeping with this theme, “The Spirits Of Starlight” shares Hollan’s first explorations into percussion elements (“Constant Velocity”) and, with several songs, a much more melodic, song-like approach. The stellar, highly emotive space music found on each of the nine tracks extends his sonic signature beautifully, still featuring the profound imaginary current and trance-mood of his previous cosmic journeys.
In that respect, the smooth and deep morphing “Scattered Across The Heavens” comes the closest to the composers traditional approach to ambient space music. The smooth pulsating, shimmering and energetic “Impulse” kicking off the album already makes a stunning opener with some captivating retro / Berlin School elements thrown in as well.
The composer’s favorite piece “The Uninvited Guest” is about war, an occurrence always uninvited by the people upon whom it is foisted. Hollan recalls the impetus for this song (which comprises about 26 individual tracks, the most he’d ever put together in one piece) was actually created back in 2008. After re-discovering it during a hard drive purge, he decided to dust it off and complete it. It turned out to be another winner. The smooth drive continues nicely on the spiraling wings of “Enduro” and galactic ride “Pale Blue Dot”.
Although the narrative and highly cinematic “The Spirits Of Starlight” overall already breaths a strong lyrical current as it unfolds, emotions really fly high on “The Departure”, a very moving track about death and our own mortality. The grand scale of things and the tantalizing impact evoked by the cosmos is poured out to the fullest on the final track “The Eternal Cosmos”. It’s a grand finale of a mind blowing journey through mesmerizing star fields and the heavens, surpassing Mr Holmes previous strong recordings.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Hollan Holmes artist page
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