Album release: 'The Cage' by Bob Holroyd
Release date: 9 March 2018
More info: Artist website
The new single 'Inner Mind Sigh' premieres with Clash.
Ranging from ambient minimalism to world music, modern classical to jazz, Bob Holroyd’s music is often hard to pigeon hole. With eight studio albums and six remix albums to his name, Bob’s eclectic and texturally cinematic work has been recognised and remixed extensively by a huge range of artists such as Coldcut, Nitin Sawhney, Four Tet, Francois K, Mogwai, The Album Leaf, T. Williams, Lemonde, Loop Guru, Steve Roach and more, and has been used prominently in mainstream TV and films such as The Dark Knight, Lost, True Blood, The Sopranos, Panorama, Coast and many more. Now Bob is set to release his ninth album ‘The Cage’.
Over the course of his musical career Bob Holroyd has pioneered music that crosses musical and cultural boundaries, and as a result his music is influenced by a diverse array of sights, sounds from around the world. Bob's music includes influences from extensive travels in Africa and Asia, and ranges from intense walls of percussive drumming - as on his cult club classic 'African Drug' - to delicate atmospheric soundscapes, such as the beautiful 'Looking Back' - a track recorded for the 'Sanscapes' project to highlight the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen, with whom he collaborated with. Similarly, he also recorded the Islamic Call to Prayer at Regent's Park Mosque, writing a moving and dramatic piece around the haunting vocal by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens).
With more recent releases such as the critically acclaimed ‘Blueprint’ and ‘Beachcombing’ Bob looks to himself for inspiration. Citing work in therapy and exploring the complex textures and emotions that make up every moment of our lives as well as exploring the creative process itself as key elements of stimulus. The new album ‘The Cage’ delves further into Bob’s poignant introspection.
“‘The Cage’ is where I have subconsciously imprisoned myself emotionally for years” says Bob, “By keeping out ‘negative’ emotions I have felt safe, but ultimately made myself unapproachable to others, and myself. I had the idea that instead of trying to escape this Cage I should enlarge it to include all emotions, feelings experiences and people - if EVERYTHING is in the Cage then I am more free than if I were keeping all influences out.”
Bob has reflected on this when constructing and recording the album, instead of going into the studio with a set of well-rehearsed and fine-tuned ideas, he has opted for a more organic approach, recording on what felt right on that day. Speaking about the process Bob says, “it has taken a long time to finish some tracks, and there are various other pieces at varying stages of completion, but I have found it incredibly liberating to do only what immediately ‘feels’ right without the constraints that I have put myself under in the past.”
This raw and beguilingly honest take on his new album can be heard instantly in the music itself. There are transcendent ambient cogitations throughout ‘The Cage’, which is made up of twelve tracks of deep emotive encounters, from ruminating to wistful to uplifting and even a little perturbing at times. There are beautifully woven atmospheric textures of light and space, which coalesce to form something, which can only truly be described as minimally complex. Fans of Eno, Laraaji, Max Richter and Peter Broderick will find much to love (Bob also names the likes of David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, Arvo Part, Nils Petter Molvaer, Radiohead, Tavener and more as further influences).
As Bob Holroyd delves further into his own psyche, as well as the world and influences around him, his own brand of quiet sound collages grow not only in their multi-faceted compositions but also in their intelligent and thought-provoking non-verbal prose. Despite any potential preconceptions, Bob creates incredibly personal records, which are free from self-indulgence and pretension, ‘The Cage’ is not too complicated to absorb, it’s not boring or forgettable, but for many, not to mention for Bob himself, it will ultimately be very rewarding.
Press reaction to date
"a beautiful example of the sheer artistry that drives Bob Holroyd's work."
“At his best Holroyd is Massive Attack, Mogwai, Simon Fisher Turner, David Toop and Future Sounds of London in an intelligent globally-tinged reflective collaboration. Electronics flutter and strings caress our emotions without it descending into self-indulgent sentimentalism” – DJ Mag
“stunning” – Resident Advisor
“Massive Attack style broody stalking sexiness” – Mixmag
“quite simply the gentlest, most emotionally potent, enveloping piece of electro-acoustic ambient music I’ve heard in a very long time” – Hypnagogue