Lonnie Holley: Just Before Music (Dust-To-Digital, 2012)

May 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Lonnie Holley: Just Before Music

Lonnie Holley: Just Before Music

I’ve been completely fascinated by this album lately, can’t stop listening to it at all. Holley is an artist who creates sculptures out of found, discarded objects, and his artwork is amazing, but this album is something else entirely. Meditative minimal synthesizer backing free-associative sung verse about technology, humanity, earth, and cosmic beings. 3 of the tracks stretch well past 10 minutes, the longest being the 25-minute “Planet Earth And Otherwheres”, and these longer tracks are my favorites because he really gets entranced in what he’s saying. Most devastating is the 15-minute “Fifth Child Burning”, about a little girl in Birmingham who burned to death in her own house. One of Holley’s sculptures was constructed from objects found in the burned-down house. The song features wavy synths, which Holley stops every time he sings a line, and it’s just unbelievable. Really forward thinking space-age blues. “Earthly Things” is another eye-opener, where he stretches his soulful, throaty, world-worn voice over minimal ambience. And then “Planet Earth And Otherwheres” is another long, devastating meditation, moving a bit slower, and eventually featuring double-tracked vocals. Unbelievably life-affirming, conscience-expanding music, that sounds like absolutely nothing else on earth. Holley also recorded a 2-hour session at WFMU, all unreleased, improvised material, and you can download this for free at the Free Music Archive. And you should, because it’s also incredible.

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