By Luke Carrell
Holy Other has been producing haunting sounds that swallow the low end of the audio spectrum for a good six months now, with each new track yielding fractal bits of the experience that the Manchester producer has been rumored to have been preparing. Lucky for us, his efforts are now ready to be unleashed in the form of With U, his new EP from the ever-otherworldly Tri Angle Records.
The oppressively thick filters, pitch-shifted vocal samples, and stilted, looping leads recall '90s R&B heard through your neighbor's wall, flitting between the left and right stereo channels as expansive bass drones struggle to anchor these more ephemeral bits to the rhythm. As dense as this music feels, its percussive elements are in reality quite restrained-- despite giving way to the occasional temperamental breakdown. This understatedness allows the often simple arrangements to expand beyond the role of gloomy atmospherics and token melodies, drawing out textures that carry a sense of danger akin to the one that can make nightlife so overly appealing to those with a certain kind of deathwish.
With U's dub and hip-hop influences are heavy and hard, but hearing the tracks in succession reveals a strong house music pedigree. A listen through the EP creates the feel of a five-song mix for a secret chill out room hidden beneath the dancefloor of a former club, long ago repurposed for use by youth basketball leagues and the occasional low stakes bingo game. It’s the type of music that evaporates any microgenre label applied to it by virtue of its inherent eclecticism and deep-seated idiosyncrasies. From the breathy drama of "Feel Something" and "Touch" to the effortless momentum of "Know Where"-- heavily side chained around a kick drum-- each track manages to shake its own rubric and defy expectations. In other words, it’s both perfectly suited for a nice pair of headphones, or some amazing dance party you just haven’t found yet.