Casting off from the decks of art rock: Holophrase, with their esoteric knowledge of circuitry, sails into the sea of noisy curiosities; where music is no longer just an expression, it is an experiment. Holophrase’s new album isn’t electronic-pop music in the sense of the mainstream garbage infiltrating the ears of the masses, this is real electronic music: Stay Being is art.
Their first EP, Horizons of Expectation, recorded and produced by the renown, now late, Ikey Owens, gained them much praise within the music community. As the title expressed, it led to expectations of great things in the future of Holophrase. A minor line-up change, and two years of live hiatus allowed for these artists to reimage their sound, going further down the electronic rabbit hole. Line-up changes that lead to alterations in sound usually do not bode well for groups, but Holophrase kills it with their comeback, Stay Being.
The electronic section in the band obviously has a deep understanding of how to properly push the limits of the technology they use in their music. According to the band’s Facebook bio, Caleb Henning (E-drums, circuit bent “keyborg”, “gold detector”, and vocals) and Luis Etscheid (bass, synth, guitar, and lyrics) won first place in Moog’s circuit bending championship, landing Etscheid a Moog Voyager. The two also have their own pedal making project, Mantic Conceptual. Along with Etscheid and Henning, they also had a vast collaboration on this project, featuring five artists from other local projects (Tera Melos, Wheelchair Sports Camp) and also Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta).
Tyler Lingdren (acoustic and e-drums) does some very interesting things throughout the album as well. To play acoustic drums with such a fringe-worthy electronic section takes some serious talent. Each song takes its rhythm all over the place, changing without warning sometimes; Lingdren holds it down, giving the album a sound of a full band. The electronic section, the drums, and the collaborators are all backed by the vocals of Malgorzata Stacha. She has a wonderful voice for their future-pop-esque sound, and gives the intricate yet chaotic noises a sense of melody.
Stay Being is a top-notch electronic piece of art. The production quality is something difficult to compete with. There is not one dull moment within the album, every measure seems to have been nurtured with the utmost attention to detail. To be clearer, the album has a cover of Kraftwerk’s “Sex Object,” retitled “Object.” To cover the work of pioneers such as Kraftwerk without stripping it of its essence is something only done by artists within a similar range of aptitude. Holophrase has it, they are within range, and Stay Being is proof.