Up to now, to be honest, I had strictly no interest for the music of Bob Holroyd, mixing ambient, electronica, new age, fusion, chillout, world music and trip-hop elements into his music. But apparently 2011 is a year of change for him. A change in two steps, with "Beachcombing" opening the year and "Afterglow" closing it.
If one track has got to be reminded on "Beachcombing", it's the opening one, "Glow" which explore in a similar vein the works of artists such as Hammock, Amman/Josh and Josh Varnedore.
The structure and progression is both epic and melancholic, joyful and sunny, sensitive enough to avoid being rejected. It is mostly built around a simple piano line which echoes the Budd/Eno works, completed by waves of sound, drums and other sounds and processing. And it sounds quite fresh and refreshing, unexhausted. On the title track, the acoustic guitar becomes the lead instrument with a nice development of drones, strings and loops for a dreamy and intimate, faultless result. Bob Holroyd quietens the tempo and exuberance on "A Weak Winter Sun" which maybe lacks of some textural depth.
Sadly next he is returning to his old tricks and "Sacred Light", "Collectors of souls", "Mill Pond", "Renewal", "A Stone Left Unturned", "Beautiful Domination", "Samsara" and "Hope" are just old school, outdated and disconnected, ambient digital tracks. The only exception is the introspective "Parallels".
Glow -Music video- from Miki Yamaguchi on Vimeo.