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New album from Peter Hollo’s (Fourplay, Tangents) solo project Raven. At it’s heart, is his cello, creating loops, drones and ambiences. Backed up with electronics, sampling and piano Hollo doesn’t so much force two worlds together but molds them to fit seamlessly. Neo classical meets breakbeats, noise and glitches. Think Squarepusher meets Arthur Russell.
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The night is dark, the night is silent, the night is bright, the night is loud -- according to Peter Hollo, the night is all of these things, sometimes all at once. Well it is ‘round where I live, particularly at Carnival time. Or a three-month span either side of bonfire night. Hollo sets about addressing each state of the night, via his gracious and graceful solo project, which he has named Raven. There are many shades of darkness within; come on, let’s delve deeper and explore.
‘Lockstep’ commences the album, with a cello being alternately plucked and bowed, mimicking the second hand of a ticking clock as time propels the music inexorably forward. Darkly harmonious strings underpin the gently swaying rhythm. On ‘Begin’, a soft 4/4 beat merges with scrapey cello and subtle piano tinkling and looping, then a breakbeat thunders in for about three seconds -- like someone accidentally opening the wrong door before slamming it shut again. The beats stutter in and out like that throughout the track; it’s a draughty day and that door refuses to stay closed.
Hollo’s cello is a ruminative figure, set to appear and recur frequently throughout -- droning and cycling and looping on and on, treading cautiously yet steadfastly into the blackest of nights. Beats do appear, however they’re pleasingly sparse and appear naturally, developing organically as the album progresses. Cello unravels as electronics hover, then flutter just when you want them to, but not necessarily as expected. ‘Descent’ is a particularly ominous piece -- piano steps tentatively, electronics become increasingly dissonant before strange buzzing and metallic clanking sounds swamp the keys. It has the feel of a hesitant exploration of a nighttime netherworld about it.
The whole record is like listening to Bohren & der Club of Gore meeting Tim Hecker and the ghost of Maurice Ravel. Probably.
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