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Holy Fuck At Los Globos For Red Bull Sound Select, Thursday February 25th 2016 Reviewed


Holy Fuck


The Red Bull Sound Select sessions are always interesting events, and on Thursday night they were presenting Toronto-based Holy Fuck at Los Globos. It was an occasion to check out this band, which has just announced a new album – their first in 6 years – a new effort entitled ‘Congrats’, which will be released on May 27th via Innovative Leisure.

But first, Gossamer and Finding Novyon were opening the night, and if Gossamer was a DJ finding crickets in intergalactic depths, Finding Novyon, a rapper from Mineapolis, immediately energized the crowd with his rap and rhythms. Now, I am certainly not an expert in rap music, I rarely listen to it and I can only name a few rappers at the top of my head, but this guy was good. His style and audacity reminded me a bit about Tyler the Creator’s, just like his dense synth and dark bass beats he was rapping on,… but what do I know? All I know is that his songs had a dark vibe, menacing with your usual obscenity and simple catchy line repetitions, but also with a lot of lyrics that I couldn’t follow. He had a song called ‘Lots’, which caught the attention of many blogs and which made him release ‘#TheFoodNetwork’ a few months later… I understand he also sang a tune ‘Imma Chef, Lemme Cook’, so that’s a lot of talking about eating, but the crowd loved him, the energy was good, he was very happy to be back in LA and the rhythms were captivating… and since the guy has a track called ‘Fuck your Blog’, I will shut up now.

You have to be just amazed by the quantity of electronics and the amount of electric cords that Holy Fuck have to put together and plug in! It was a dense network and the equipment they installed on their tables was sometimes a bit mysterious, some of the things were simply unidentifiable, and I could not figure out why would be the use of this iron casting which was coming with a real film roll? They were using all kinds of miscellaneous tools and yes, an old-school 35 mm film synchronizer (the casting) but also real instruments such as small toyish keyboards, a guitar, a bass and a drumset. An interesting installation with, oh surprise, no laptop? Electronic musicians not using computers? This was a premiere to me and this meant that Holy Fuck was building their music from scratch, a challenge they have voluntary engaged themselves into, achieving electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops or programmed backing tracks. And with this forest of knobs, this jungle of instruments, this incomprehensible network of connections, they played a set which blew up the room, while installing a trance like any other! It was an intense noise experience, going full speed from start to finish, with fat beats and echoing vocals from time to time (do they even have lyrics?) but the most rewarding part of it was probably its unpredictable effects.

Duo Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh are noise builders and pulsating beats makers, while bassist Matt McQuaid and drummer Matt Schulz take care the rhythm section, but they were giving the illusion to experiment as they were turning the knobs, swallowing half of the tip of the mic, using what it seemed to be a blade on keys, screaming and jumping along. Some tracks were simply cathartic giving the right meaning to the expression holy fuck! And if they were electronica, the music exulted the craziness of punk bands like Thee Oh Sees or Lightning Bolt, with stretching krautrock-y grooves and glitch-galore. They also had long rides going crescendo, an infinite highway of sounds accelerating and climbing stairs to an abstract sky, providing a eargasmic sonic experience, a bit as Mogwai does it for me. It was innovative, unique sounding, and not deprived of danceable beats whereas some of the last tracks were simply empowering in their abrasive madness and fury.

They debuted a few new songs like ‘Tom Tom’, the first single off their forthcoming LP, as well as a few others mixed with some older ones, like ‘Red Lights’, ‘Latin America’, ‘Stay Lit’ from their third album ‘Latin’. If people had found ‘Latin’ more studio-produced and less experimental than ‘LP’ their previous album, the weirdness and unpredictability sounded absolutely present on the new songs, but this has to be confirmed when the album is released in May. How could something so weird also feel so good? It was certainly a shared opinion, as everyone in the room was asking for ‘one more song’ after the quartet had left the stage.


Tom Tom
Latin America
Stay Lit
Red Lights
X eyes

More pictures of the show here

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