Bob Holroyd’s Experimentation Will Delight Avant-Garde Music Lovers


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What do you call Bob Holroyd music? Ambient? Avant-garde? Modernindustrial? Electronic-acoustical sounddesigns? Take your pick.

On his ninth non-remix studio album, THE CAGE, this U.K.-basedwonder breaks some rules, invents some new strategies and pretty much turns themusic on its head by manipulating most everything. He primarily plays piano, synthesizers andelectric guitar, but he also brings in occasional special guests on cello,guitars, bass and horns. He most oftenscrews around with the cello, often to stunning effect, but he also puts sometwists and turns on the piano and guitars.

But before you think this guy is just too far out there, keep inmind he had a cult club hit called “African Drug”a few years ago, and he has had his music prominently placed in lots of topfilms and TV shows (“The Dark Knight,” “Lost,” “True Blood,” “The Sopranos,” “Panorama,”“Coast,” to name a few). He also hasworked with artists as diverse as Steve Roach and Cat Stevens. And Holroyd’s influences include Eno,Laraaji, Max Richter, Peter Broderick, David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, Arvo Part,Nils Petter Molvaer, Radiohead and Tavener, which collectively should give youa much better idea of where this cat’s head is at.

Most of the dozen tunes on THE CAGE album featuresome acoustic piano sounds, sometimes as the main instrument and other timesjust in the background or swimming to the surface here or there. “Enough” features a DEEP piano sound while heincludes extremely slow piano playing on “Falling Together,” “Identity,” “IfEver There Was a Time” and “What We Do.” But there also is the true ambient, space synth track “Possibilities”and the guitar-synth-and-synth-percussion-and-cello piece “Longing.” “Wings Clipped” has some wood-blockpercussion, acoustic guitar and delicate processed cello that ends up soundinglike some Chinese stringed instrument (an erhu or something). The title tune is powerful ambient music witha drone background and a face-slap abrupt ending.

There is a lot going on throughout this recordingthat made me want to get out and dust off some old ear-covering headphones and slipout of reality into the netherworld of musical experimentation where you neverknow what to expect next. Holroyd keepsyou guessing all night alright. Thismusic will be a delight for those listener’s who want something new anddifferent in their musical diet. Likecandy for avant-garde babies. Track downBob Holroyd at his website (his first and last name dot com).