Since the Tri Angle label was founded in 2010, each of its releases has helped to define the parameters of a fairly specific sound. Balam Acab, oOoOO and How To Dress Well have variously brought together bits and pieces of coldwave, dubstep, R&B, goth and ambient into a kind of cryogenic hybrid; an overarching sense of gloom has become the label's signature.
The debut EP from Manchester's Holy Other takes the label's aesthetic deeper into 4/4 territory than it's gone before, but otherwise it's Tri Angle music par excellence, with glum, shuffling beats, vaporous vocal samples and a slow wash of synthesizers. Once you acclimate yourself to the ever-present fog of vocals and reverb, there's a nice range of styles on display. The lurching "Touch" comes closest to bass music, although about 20 beats per minute slower than is the norm; "Know Where," with its shuffling house beat and looped chords, sounds like The Field slowed to 85 BPM. (Speed it up to 120, and hear for yourself.) "Yr Love" is another agonizingly slow-motion techno dirge, all echoing drum machines and suggestive swirl. This one, sped up to 120, turns into dubby melancholic tech house. If anything, it sounds even sweeter at a faster tempo, even though I know that wasn't the artist's point.
"With U" is an R&B slow-jam at the rate of an intravenous drip, a sticky syrup of FM synths and porous vocal samples, and "Feel Something" filters Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins into a kind of jewel-toned hip-hop. It's the record's most optimistic song, unembarrassed by its own yearning. It's tricky to make music this mopey without sliding into shtick, but Holy Other pulls it off, balanced right on the brink of bathos.
Buy Holy Other - With U at
Tracklist: Holy Other - With U A1 Know Where
A2 Yr Love
B1 With U
B2 Feel Something
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