Holy Other Archive

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[2011] Electronica album of the year

The Downcast’s 2011 techno album of the year

SebastiAn: Total

Trashy, cheap and shining with lazy arrogance, SebastiAn’s schizophrenic Total is a fucking blast. Listen as French DJ Sebastian Akchote shifts recklessly from stomping glitchcore and heavy house to warped disco and thump-swinging R+B. Across the album’s 19 tracks, it’s hard to find a common thread or prevailing influence, and it’s even harder not to get bored. This is post-Justice dance-music for the post-MTV generation with a postage stamp on your forehead and a T-shirt that says “delivered to wrong address.” Listen to “Jack Wire”.

More of the year’s best Electronica albums and EPs…

Siriusmo: Mosaik
Berlin DJ Siriusmo weaves a playful, beautifully cluttered mosaic of dance textures on Mosaik (which, correct us if we’re wrong, is his first album following years of remixes and singles). There are moments that remind us of Daft Punk, Justice, Boyz Noise and the like. But you won’t be bored. Siriusmo switches quickly from one hip-shaking pulse to the next and never settles on a clear pattern with his sampling techniques. Freak out to “Sirimande”.
Andy Stott: We Stay Together
UK beat deconstructionist Andy Stott creates a hollow, pulsing purgatory on his latest, We Stay Together. It’s a curious place where smoldering cinders and digital snowflakes fall from the twilit sky and dancehall witches slither through the charred remains of a post-modern city where techno was their last hope and music was their first religion. Creep out to “Posers”.
Holy Other: With U
We know there are more than two songs on this EP. There are five, actually. But it’s hard to remember what the other three sound like when the hollow, spectral pulse of  “Yr Love” and the devastating, shadowy beauty of “Know Where” are on endless repeat. Now that we’re thinking about it, we vaguely recall the rest of the EP drifting like spirits through a cavernous hall, staring slowly at the distant light and smiling as if neither scared or happy with whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing.
Muta: Runner
We’re pretty sure Muta descends from a race of underwater robots obsessed with creating music based on heavily corrupted acid house, trip hop and dubstep data files. You can hear it in the glitchy delivery of pixelated melodies, the fractured strut of the LP’s beats and the smooth, submarine quality that infects all levels of Runner’s sonic architecture. Dig “Sleepshop”.
Salva: Complex Housing
Salva finds a glitchy, neon-soaked techno-pop groove on his debut, Complex Housing. Although the producer hails from the Bay Area, his sound will remind beat junkies of LA’s Low End Theory scene at its most accessible. Throughout Complex Housing, Salva laces slightly off-center beats with tangy keyboard washes and spacey melodies to create a cozy, futuristic underworld. Check out LP standout “Wake Ups” [via Pitchfork]
Gesaffelstein: Conspiracy Pt. 1 and 2
Metallic, scorched-earth beats come swarming at you courtesy of French producer  Gesaffelstein on Conspiracy Pt. 1 and 2. The second installment is certainly the strongest of the two, with the menacing one-two assault of “Viol” and “Opr“. Tune in as each EP wanders from bleached, robotic disco and pulsing, deep-space ambiance to angular storms of pixelated, black raindrops.
The Juan Maclean: Everybody Get Close
Pulsing, skinny-jean bass thumps are layered with neon synths, glam keys and lightly affected vocals over the boogie of squishy, low-slung bass lines and double-timed, digitized high-hats on The Juan Maclean’s 2011 compilation, Everybody Get Close. It’s jaded, high-voltage disco cut with the occasional, washed-out 4AM burner and a couple of trance-inducing glitch-shifters for good measure. Well, enough about you, “Let’s Talk About Me”.

More of 2011′s best albums…
Best rock
Best mixtape
Best alternative music
Best metal
Best rap
Top-25 albums of 2011 (coming soon)

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How to Dress Well – Suicide Dream 2 (Holy Other Remix) – free mp3

Minimalist witch-pop producer Holy Other remixing the ethereal How to Dress Well? It sounds like a match made in purgatory. And on the first pairing of these two up-and-comers, “Suicide Dream 2 (Holy Other Remix)”, we’re pretty impressed. Listen as Holy Other lends a haunted, yearning pulse to How to Dress Well’s disembodied yearning…

Download “Suicide Dream 2 (Holy Other Remix)” [via Pitchfork]
Download “Suicide Dream” [via Pitchfork]

Also, grab a free download of the beautifully devastating “Suicide Dream 3 (Orchestral Version”.

 

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Walls – Sunporch (Holy Other Remix) – free mp3

Holy Other take Walls’ hustling, nervy “Sunporch” and drag it into an abandoned, shadowy cathedral, which is something Holy Other is really good at doing. The Manchester producer replaces the hustling rhythms of Walls’ original version with a minimal pulse, cranks up the echo and salvages just enough synth samples to call this a remix. Pretty hot…

Download “Sunporch (Holy Other Remix)” [via Altered Zones]

For comparison, check out the original (which will appear on Walls second album, Coracle, due September 27)…

WALLS – Sunporch by dangervillage

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Holy Other – Know Where – video

We’ve been following German producer Holy Other since we heard the breathtaking, haunted “With U” late last year. (Essential free download here.) Since then, Holy Other has put out an EP (that made our halftime list of 2011′s best albums), and now he’s released his first video.

The scratchy, strange clip (directed by the MFK) for “Know Where” is pretty cool, but this song is an infinite-repeat classic:

Holy Other – Know Where from @thestankonia on Vimeo.

Find “Know Where” on the With U EP, out now.

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Top-10 Albums of 2011: The Halftime Report

Here’s our list of the best 10 albums (so far) of 2011…

1. Fleet Foxes:
Helplessness Blues
What sophomore slump? Though the band’s second album, Helplessness Blues, draws its inspiration from a quieter place than their killer self-titled debut, it manages to deliver a more epic sweep. The vocal harmonies are more brilliant, the songwriting is more complex and frontman Robin Pecknold continues to amaze us with how much wisdom he’s acquired in just 25 years.

Standout Tracks: Things really start cooking at “Sim Sala Bim” and reach a haunted, beautiful high at “The Plains / Bitter Dancer”. The title track and the majestic instrumental, “The Cascades” are awesome. So is the album closer, “Grown Ocean”

Download Grown Ocean [via Sub Pop]
Download “Helplessness Blues” [via SubPop]

2. Vast Aire
Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey
If you lost interest in Vast Aire after his tepid 2008 effort, Deuces Wild, you weren’t alone. But the standout half of legendary underground hip-hop duo Cannibal Ox absolutely kills it on Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey. As the album thumps along, one banger is stacked on another, sprayed with Vast Aire’s relentless flow and occasionally highlighted with verses from a bitchin cast of co-conspirators (Raekwon and Cappadonna of Wu-Tang fame, Guilty Simpson and Vordul Mega, the second half of Cannibal Ox, among them).

Standout Tracks: “Nomad”, “I Don’t Care (f. Cappadonna)”, “The Verdict (f. Guilty Simpson)”

Download “Thor’s Hammer” [via Above Ground Magazine]

3. Siriusmo
Mosaik
Berlin DJ Siriusmo weaves a playful, beautifully cluttered mosaic of dance textures on Mosaik (which, correct us if we’re wrong, is his first album following years of remixes and singles). There are moments that remind us of Daft Punk, Justice, Boyz Noise and the like. But you won’t be bored. Siriusmo switches quickly from one hip-shaking pulse to the next and never settles on a clear pattern with his sampling techniques.

Standout Tracks: “Sirimande”, “Idiologie” and “Lass Den Vogel Frei!”

Download “Einmal in der Woche schrien” [via Pitchfork]

4. Cold Cave
Cherish the Light Years
Goth pop outfit Cold Cave sound more pop than ever on their latest LP, Cherish the Light Years. But this ain’t a top-40 record. Using a variety of formats (from 80s rock and dance pop to techno and rock) Cold Cave deliver a dense wall of synths, driving percussion, Robert Smith-esque vocals and, occasionally, guitars (remember those?).

Standout Tracks: “Confetti”, “Underworld USA”, “Burning Sage”

Download “The Great Pan is Dead” [via Stereogum]
Download “Villains of the Moon” [via Stereogum]

5. Sic Alps
Napa Asylum
Be forewarned this album is not like any rock album you’ve heard before. It plays like a stoned, lo-fi stream-of-consciousness inspired by late-60s psychedelia. Songs average about a minute-and-a-half, many seem to end halfway through, but they’re stocked with hooks and brilliantly scattered across the stylistic map. Ultimately, we’re left with what feels like an extraordinary collection of fully conceived garage-rock demos.

Standout Tracks: “The First White Man to Touch California Soil”, “Do You Want to Give $$”, “Country Medicine”, “Zeppo Epp”

Download “Do You Want to Give $$?” [via Weekly Tape Deck]

6. Tune-Yards
Whokill
The Tune-Yards (aka Merrill Garbus) caught our attention a couple years ago with their totally killer debut, Bird-Brains. They had an irresistibly strange sound where spare indie pop was washed with tribal melodies and blended in a lo-fi package. On their new album, Whokill, the Tune Yards are as strange as ever, but the production value has been kicked up a notch and the song structures feel bigger. We’re still left with an attention-grabbing, totally catchy album that’s sure to end up on most critics’ 2011 best-of lists.

Standout Tracks: “Powa”, “Bizness”, “Wooly Wolly Gong”

Download “Bizness” [via Stereogum]

7. Salva
Complex Housing
Salva finds a glitchy, neon-soaked techno-pop groove on his debut, Complex Housing. Although the producer hails from the Bay Area, his sound will remind beat junkies of LA’s Low End Theory scene at its most accessible. Throughout Complex Housing, Salva laces slightly off-center beats with tangy keyboard washes and spacey melodies to create a cozy, futuristic underworld.

Standout Tracks: “Wake Ups”, “I’ll Be Your Friend”, “Beached”

Download “Wake Ups” [via Pitchfork]
Download “Blue” [via Stereogum]
Download “40 Karats” [via Stereogum]

8. Kills
Blood Pressures
Since forming ten years ago and releasing three albums, you’d think a rock duo would run out of ideas and start sounding stale. But The Kills fourth album, Blood Pressures, is the best of their career. As Kills fans have come to expect, the new album is packed with plenty of swagger and slashing riffs. But the songwriting and stylistic range seem more complete than on any Kills album to date.

Standout Tracks: “Satellite”, “DNA”, “The Last Goodbye”

9. Holy Other
With U
This is only an EP. Four cuts of haunted, beautiful electronica. But the songs on Holy Other’s debut EP, With U, are four of the most awesome songs we’ve heard this year. Especially the first two, which are pretty much on endless repeat at the office here.

Standout tracks: “Know Where”, “With U”

Download “With U” [via Gorilla vs. Bear]

10. Panda Bear
Tomboy
We tried to get into Panda Bear’s first, critically mega-acclaimed album, Person Pitch. But we just didn’t get it. Good album. But it wasn’t that good. On Panda Bear’s new album, Tomboy, the songwriting is tighter and more focused, the melodies are more catchy and we finally get it.

Panda Bear still relies heavily on echoing, Beach Boys-ish vocals, spare rhythms and a pile of synths, which come together in a surprisingly warm, organic package. But Tomboy still carries an experimental, otherworldly feel that’s going to challenge most people, and reward those with the patience to stick with it.

Standout tracks: “Slow Motion”, “Last Night at the Jetty”, “Scheherazade”

Download “Slow Motion” [via MPR]
Download “Last Night at the Jetty” [via Gorilla v Bear]

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Holy Other – With U – free mp3

So far, we’ve heard two songs from Holy Other’s forthcoming EP, With U (due June 6), and both of them are borderline amazing. First, we heard the haunted, slow-burning techno of “Yr Love” (free download here). Now, we’ve got an even slower, more sensual song, “Touch.”

Fans of James Blake will dig this. But those of you that are already sick of (or disappointed by the hype surrounding) James Blake will probably find something to like in “Touch”, too. It’s more textured and a little more edgy than anything we’ve heard from the indie-sphere’s latest darling.

Download “With U” [via Gorilla vs. Bear]

 

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Holy Other – Yr Love – Video

It looks like a very adroit fan matched Holy Other’s “Yr Love” (one of the Downcast’s best free downloads of 2010) to scenes from Noe Gaspar’s “Enter the Void”. A perfect fit. Well done…

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Holy Other – Yr Love – Free Download

(Early) Cold Cave meets Washed Out (a win-win, in case you’re not familiar with either group) in this slow-burning, industrial cut from Berlin-based Holy Other. “Yr Love” definitely has a more cavernous, lonely feel than anything from Cold Cave or Washed Out, but it’s all the more beautiful for it…

Download “Holy Other” [via Pitchfork]

 

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