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San Holo’s “Album1” Is a Feels-Driven Experience [Album Review]

After much awaited anticipation, San Holo’s latest release is here. On Friday September, 21 San Holo released his debut album, titled Album1In a youtube documentary series, San Holo talks in depth about the creation process of his album.

San Holo wanted Album1 to sound under-produced. He found elegance in the imperfections that come from natural, unedited sounds. San Holo elaborates in his documentary, “There’s some beauty in releasing something that has a lot of edges, not as polished or as perfect as you imagined it to be.”

For instance, San Holo discusses how completion of the album accumulated over half a year. Whereas his original plan was to spend 2-3 years “polishing” and mastering the album.

The tempo throughout mostly follows some future and trap influences, but not the mainstream festival trap that we are accustomed to hearing. This is different. The contrast comes from the incorporation of guitar melodies. Creating a new experience that listeners are unfamiliar with. San Holo’s guitar work turns the album into a feels-driven experience.

Standout Tracks:

Everything Matters (When It Comes to you):
The opening track on Album1. Beginning with signature guitar melodies, it sets the mood for the album. It starts off as a peaceful song, but then we start flying through waves synths, invigorating different emotions. Melancholy, yet powerful lyrics enter in about half way, which brings the song to the next level.

Forever Free:
The initial chopped, and edited vocals aid to the floating feeling of the song. It starts out spacey, but the drop creates a tempo change that will get anyone’s heart racing. The middle section of the song acts as a breakdown. The title of the track could come from the freedom we have when we are flying high in a relationship. We are rushing through the clouds. The outro to Forever Free fades seamlessly into Surface. The two songs work together and add to the story.

The immensely talented Caspian starts by singing, “slow down, your racing ahead,” preparing us for the song ahead. A slower tempo track with a powerful drop, Surface is an emotional journey. “When you surface I’ll be right here,” could be talking about love, and when people are mentally ready to make a commitment. An accumulation of all the work put into Album1. San Holo’s perfect drum work creates passion and pours it into our souls.

Background Information

San Holo collaborated extensively with his friend “The Nicholas,” on Album1. San Holo describes their relationship in his documentary, “we feel and talk music the same way.” “We both share a love for lo-fi keyboards, wobbly guitar tones, and imperfection.”

Album1’s goal was to have a story throughout. It is an emotional journey, with an atmospheric feeling and a wide range of emotions from beginning to end. San Holo created a work of art that could not be expressed with just one song. He cycles through a wide range of emotions. At moments we feel close to crying tears of joy.

In the Soundcloud description for Album1:

“To me, one of the most exciting things of making is expanding my own taste and giving listeners an opportunity to expand theirs. Album1 showcases my love for all kinds of music, from EDM to post-rock to classical to ambient. I cant wait to take you on this journey, hope you’re with me ❤️” – San Holo

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Listen below for an uplifting experience. San Holo will be touring in support of Album1 In Seattle and Portland. He will be performing in Portland on Thursday December 20. The final stop of his tour will take place in Seattle on Friday December 21 at the Showbox Sodo.


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