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raven remixes No Names!

A few years ago my dear frenemies Stephen & Michael formed a band, based around shouting a lot, hammering away at guitar & bass, and adding amps and drums on computer. No Names are fucking great, and as I share with them a near-worshipful admiration of all things JK Broadrick, the Godflesh vibes are close to my heart.
So when – for the second time, mind you – they invited me to remix them, I couldn't say no. When I asked them for the lyrics, they were a little shocked – but it forced me to carry through the idea I'd had.
The raven "re-fake" of their excellent song "Fake Faith" is a near-complete rebuild of their preacher- (and dare I say politician)-baiting song, in which the industrial metal riffs and martial drums are replaced with pitched-down (and up) piano, mangled cello, programmed beats and chopped breakbeats, and – yes – my own vocals.
I'm really fucking proud of this song. Massive thanks to Stephen Owen & Michael Ritchie for getting me to do this, and supplying an inspiring original for me to destroy.
Stream & purchase it now, along with the great originals and a bunch of other great remixes. I'm track 5.

Two new releases on Bandcamp

Very pleased to be releasing two albums on Bandcamp for "Bandcamp Day #2". As you may know, on the 1st of May 2020 Bandcamp are, for the second time, waiving their revenue share in support of musicians in the time of COVID-19. They will do this again on the 5th of June and 3rd of July.
This is mainly a catalyst for me to complete and release some archival material, so here they are…

in & out of fashion was originally recorded for an interactive installation that (for reasons beyond everyone's control) never saw the light of day. The 5 tracks are all at the same tempo (146bpm), and I've included a continuous mix as the preferred way of listening through.
The beats and heavy basslines draw on dubstep and footwork, juxtaposed with both melodic, acoustic cello lines and processed cello.

in a cold cottage, in the dirt, in outer space compiles a selection of archival tracks from 2009-2013. The first piece was recorded late one night in a cottage in upstate New York – released here with a little bit of post-production shininess.
The second was improvised live at UTS in between a beautiful set by Gail Priest with glasses of water and feedback, and a set by Alon Ilsar with his revolutionary AirSticks – they top & tail this piece.
The third is cello processed live through AudioMulch many years ago, and the fourth is a contemplative piece for cello & piano, an old & dusty thing for which I have quite a bit of affection.

Music Over Distance

Very pleased to have a track on this wonderful new compilation, put together by Richard Adams of The Declining Winter. I'm collaborating here with the amazing Katie English aka IsnajDui. The idea is for musicians in COVID-19 isolation to collaborate across different households (or indeed continents). And it's a fundraiser for PPE for NHS workers.

It's an awesome collection featuring various Hood alumni along with Richard – his brother Chris aka Bracken, Andrew Johnson aka a new line, related, Craig Tattersall in various aliases, and then fellow Aussie Jason Sweeney, Benoît Pioulard, The Leaf Library, Cédric Pin & Glenn Johnson of Piano Magic and many others…

I was blown away to see this review in The Quietus, which chose ours as one of the standout tracks:

‘Without Dwelling’ is just under six minutes of muted synths, harrowing strings and dissonant flute. It really hammers home what living in isolation feels like. There is strident paranoia that permeates it. It’s that feel you get every time you leave the house for some exercise or a quick trip to get essential food. A thousand eyes behind curtains, judging you. However, there is also something warming to ‘Without Dwelling’. As with real paranoia you can cast if off and realise that no one is judging you, they just want to say hello outside in the open like we used to.

play through you

For my recent performance at Sydney's City Recital Hall I devised a new live setup which is something I've had in mind for a long time.
With a Keith McMillen SoftStep (gen 1) as a quite powerful, customisable USB MIDI controller, and a simple Roland EV-5 expression pedal plugged into it, I'm controlling a range of effects and processing in Ableton. I can broadly mimic the typical free-looping in my Line 6 DL-4 pedal, but I can also loop in time with the Ableton session (and in Tangents I'm looping in time with the rest of the band).

In this track, I'm more interested in a freer, looser improvisation. I've got a beautifully organic tape delay using Live 10's new Echo device, and I have two copies of the classic Granulator II plugin from Robert Henke, among other effects, and a looper that's set to reduce the previous layers by a percentage each time a new overdub is added, so they slowly fade out.

New raven release – split cassette on Tandem Tapes!

Proud to have a new release available.
It's released on the excellent Tandem Tapes label, run by Aussie musician Morgan McKellar, currently based in Jakarta. Morgan has been releasing amazing split cassettes from noise and experimental artists for the last year or more, and it's cool to be part of the family! On the other side is a lovely piece of classicist drone from my friend Talbert Anthony.

Both tracks are dark and slow-moving: one tracked in Ableton based around a loping beat and meandering piano, the other freer, with processed buzzing amp noise slowly giving way to acoustic piano and cello.

reviews round-up

My 2017 album the night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud received a number of reviews in some unexpected places.

I was super pleased that one of Australia's best music writers, Kate Hennessy, selected the album for her Music you missed Guardian Australia column covering the last quarter of 2017. I love these words so much I'll quote most of the review:

Solo, he adds piano, laptop and a loop pedal to the perambulations of his trusty cello, and the variety of these compositions is pretty incredible, as though a whole cast were involved. It’s seamless, too, best evidenced when fluttering breaks only briefly rupture the tranquil surface of Begin.

Parallels are lazy but in this case, it’s illustrious company. There is The Necks on the portentous plucks of Lockstep; The Dirty Three with a dash of Arthur Russell in the rocky, amplified strings of Copra.

The song Descent does just that, sending you down into a mongrel of free jazz percussion, icy synth and a room-clearing buzz of power electronics. Untethered, meanwhile, slips under your guard by stitching together the residue of emotion that clings to fading notes.

I was very pleased to appear in the Monthly Music Wrap for October 2017, by another of our best music writers, Anwen Crawford: "Hollo’s primary instrument is cello, which he plays expansively, sometimes as a string instrument and at other times like percussion, looping the various sounds so that the album is full of darkly melancholic string melodies and assertive rhythms."

A very interesting review at Sputnik Music talks about the the album's effect on the listener's perception of time, and in summing up says: "I could reinstate that there are moments of menace lodged inside moments of earnestness, or that certain images seem to burn themselves into my retinae as I listen, but the truth is that The Night Is Dark, The Night Is Silent, The Night Is Bright, The Night Is Loud is as disorienting as it is stunning."

Sydney Scoop said "This collection of ominous and restless pieces is like bottled darkness", and helpfully described it thus: "Ostensibly a neo-classical release, but heavily influenced by ambient and industrial music, folk, and even breakbeat electronica".

Prog site It Djents singles out a few tracks: "The pacing is again marvellous, giving even the most jarring parts of 'descent' enough room to make the listener thoroughly acquainted with them; even the ending, in which the track collapses in on itself again, is tastefully and deliberately orchestrated".

The lovely folks at Norman Records have given it a write-up too: "Cello unravels as electronics hover, then flutter just when you want them to, but not necessarily as expected".

And over at a closer listen, we're told that "The album is a primer on what a cello might do when no one is looking, and how raw its notes can become".

Sydney album launch, Oct 19th

My new album the night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud is out on the 12th of October via Art As Catharsis, and I'm going to be launching it at Venue 505 on Cleveland St in Sydney. Get your tickets here!

Support will come from my wonderful & talented friends / cohorts Sophie Hutchings playing a solo piano set, and Alon Ilsar playing a solo set with his mind-boggling Air Sticks.

Remix of Julien Marchal

When I collaborated with pleq (see here) on his remix of Ben Lukas Boysen, there was also some beautiful additional piano contributed by French pianist Julien Marchal. We vowed to work together more in the future, and Julien kindly invited me to remix one of his pieces from his album INSIGHT II (and prodded me when I dragged my feet).

So here it finally is! There is also a Q&A available at Julien's site with some, er, "insight" into the creative process behind this remix, and my work more broadly.

Reviewed at a closer listen

Very pleased to have been reviewed by Richard Allen at a closer listen. He outlines the positives and negatives of his listening experience and is very generous.

Now that we’ve gotten the hard stuff out of the way, we’re free to talk about the heart of the matter: the beguiling 36-minute mini-album hidden within New resolution. This album strikes at just the right time, as the market has become flooded with similar-sounding cello albums as of late. raven’s wise combination of “live looped, acoustic and processed cello” possesses a timbre unique to the artist; after hearing this album, one would be able to identify other tracks by raven as well…

Read the whole thing at a closer listen

Reviewed in Indie Rock Mag!

New resolution has been reviewed by French music blog/site Indie Rock Mag. My French is pretty rusty, especially for somewhat colloquial French like this, but it seems pretty positive :)

Le streaming du hour #638: Raven – 'New Resolution' | Indie Rock Mag