Not wanting to be pigeon-holed, Bob Holroyd has long pioneered music that crosses musical and cultural boundaries, and as a result his music is spiced with influences from all corners of the globe. He has worked with artists as diverse as Yusuf Islam, Coldcut, Nitin Sawhney and the Bushmen of the Kalahari, and has released six critically acclaimed albums to date.
Bob Holroyd in the studio - Photo credit Simon Painter
His new album 'Afterglow' takes this musical journey in quite a different direction, occupying a space somewhere between new classical and minimalism. Dispensing completely with drums or percussion of any kind, it is a work composed and constructed from live and treated piano, cello, trumpet and guitar loops to produce a series of ambient textures and intimate spaces that unfold over time, layer by layer.
Each of the 12 tracks are initially live recordings which have then been processed in various ways to create new versions of themselves. Some have been sampled and played out of their natural register, others have had a small section sampled and played repetitively to create a starting loop from which the rest of the track has been built.
Sometimes a recording of one instrument has been taken from the track it was originally played on and detuned to 'fit' another piece. All these layers and performances have then been used as 'instruments' in their own right to compose the finished works.
Bob Holroyd - Photo credit Rob Wilkinson
Bob Holroyd's earlier albums were very much inspired by travelling, and influenced by the new sounds, cultures and musical styles encountered as a result. However, ' Afterglow ' is a much more introspective work about personal exploration and as a result has it's emphasis on the feelings and spaces within rather than external sources.
“I wanted 'Afterglow' to have a more organic, real feel to it than some of my previous albums.” says Holroyd “Although there has been quite a lot of subtle studio processing to produce the finished sound, in essence all the tracks are live recordings of real musicians playing real instruments, albeit sometimes not how they initially played them.
Musically the album is about the process of working through emotions - exploring the various repeating patterns and multiple layers to see how they can be developed into something deeper and more complete over time. It is these subtle shifts that I have tried to portray; how such seemingly small changes can make huge differences to the way we feel, and how in time, we can move to a new space”.
Find out what Bowers & Wilkins customers and audio enthusiasts are talking about on our blogs, and read in-depth articles in the Sound Lab.
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