Holon - The Evolution Of Complexity
Being a massive fan of cyberpunk music, I often find myself staring at two mindsets within the genre. There are those who produce massive club beats for futuristic dance nights filled with bass, glitches, and the like, and there are those who take a huge influence from Vangelis and try to replicate the emotive soundtrack of his masterful OST. Seldom do I find a producer who can not only vibe in between the lines of both those club beats and the atmospheric side of the genre; even rarer is finding a producer who can do that while making their word sound so fucking good. Holon is one of the few within the genre who demonstrates an intelligent understanding of the genre, relegating his electronic beats to a pulse of life, an emotion in time if you will, rather than a single forced expression. Though he has a myriad of releases that continue to impress under that belt, his latest offering “The Evolution Of Complexity” continues forth Holon’s journey into atmospheric pieces perfect for exploring the stars above.
Before I give a deep dive into the music, I would like to first compliment Holon on both the lengths of the songs themselves and the length of the album. There are fifteen songs on “The Evolution Of Complexity” and none of them fall under the four-minute mark. And, after listening to it three or four times, I’ve come to appreciate that at no point in my first, second, or third playthroughs of the album did I find myself bored of it. No, in face I came back eagerly awaiting every synth, every pulse, and every segment of science-fiction that I cross paths with on “The Evolution Of Complexity”. Whereas some producers struggle with making a three-minute single interesting, Holon does that and so much more.
Anyway, at fifteen track I would find it a boring mission to go through each and every single one on the album in detail. Instead, I aim to discuss my favorite while emphasizing that the album as a whole is a glorious package. One of the first songs I fell in love with on “The Evolution Of Complexity” is ‘Liminal Space’. After a drone-like synth line a la dark ambient works plays, a trickle of electronics sounding like that of computer blips play in. This gives the song both the sci-fi edge Holon’s looking for while maintaining a bit of a gritty edge. Sweeping synths come in to decorate the background of the song, and around the two-minute mark does a break entail. This is followed by a crisp and clear exploratory section before whirling back into fun electronics.
‘The Overview Effect’ is another song that absolutely blew me away upon first listen. Ambient synths play in the intro that give me the chills on each passing. The song slowly works its way up with brighter electronics until around the one-minute and thirteen-second mark hits. Sweeping drum pads motivate the beat, as static-y synths play over it. The industrial elements that are present on the song are used as textures more than the base structure, which is perfect. All of this builds into a wonderful crescendo around the four-minute mark where either guitars, or synthetic noise that sounds like guitars, come in making a noise-wall like effect. And just as it all built up, it all slowly breaks apart and quiets down until the very end.
‘This Is Where We’ll Remain’ brought me similar feelings as when I listened to Mick Gordon’s ‘Everything Is Going to Be Ok’ when I played through 2017’s Prey for the first time. Through Holon’s ambient rhythms and chill atmosphere, I am able to shut my eyes and imagine a giant space station where the underlying horrors may or may not exist. Sure, the rather soothing tone of the song suggests otherwise, but I also take the title of the track as unease. ‘This Is Where We’ll Remain’ begs the question: Where is here? On a ship floating through the never-ending void of space? On a giant space station potentially assaulted by an alien creature? Or something more deviant? Or, potentially, something more hopeful? It's the fear of the unknown that gets me and I think this song captures that emotion perfectly.
Though I have only covered three of the fifteen songs on Holon’s massive “The Evolution Of Complexity”, I’m hoping that my love of these three singles present my thoughts as a whole. Repeating myself from earlier, there’s not a moment on the album that I found to be boring, slow, or uninteresting. It’s a genuine craft of music celebrating science fiction and cyberpunk genres while embracing ambiance, space, a bit of industrial and synthwave, and more. It’s no wonder Holon has gained such a cult following throughout the years; his music is simply mesmerizing. Nine out of ten.Mar 21 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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