Album Review: album1 by San Holo

Album Review: album1 by San Holo

On September 21st, 2018 San Holo released his highly anticipated debut album: album1. This album rocked the charts and landed at number seven on the Billboard Dance/EDM. San Holo is a electronic music producer who started out as a guitar teacher from the Netherlands and became popular for for his soundcloud remixes and releases, including the remix of “The Next Episode” by Jay-Z. I have been a big fan of San ever since he released his EPs: Victory, New Sky and The Trip. He also created Bitbird, a music label that houses artists from various styles of electronic music. Some of these artists include Droeloe, Taska Black, Autolaser, Duskus, and Flaws.

Myself and a few Limelight members saw the album1 concert live at The Ritz in Raleigh-thumbDurham on November 10th. The show was fantastic. Depending on the city, San has different openers. We were able to see The Nicholas, Baynk, and Taska Black, and they absolutely crushed it. Each artist had a different way of vibing with the crowd. The Nicholas was very intimate and pulled the audience in with his chill melodic music. Baynk gripped the audience and made you want to dance around. He also would bring out his saxophone to heighten the effect of his pieces. Finally, Taska Back hyped up the crowd with his sick DJ set. His energy was so lively and fun that you were craving for the next drop. San Holo filled the room with so much gratification and joy the whole crowd was full of energy and singing along to his songs. San’s set was amazing and extremely well-crafted.The projections and lighting were phenomenal. The way the lights and the sound went along with the artist’s movement and music was very moving. The beginning of San’s set started in complete darkness with just a few beams of lights on stage flickering a few times along with the first track on the album.This was so powerful because it emphasized and heightened the anticipation of San’s set. You were literally moments away from his set. San’s projections throughout the show were very creative and memorable. For his songs with lyrics, he had the projected visuals similar to what was be talked about in the track. When he performed the track “Victory”, the music video came up behind him and gave you great nostalgia for when you watched it the first time. There were about six to eight LED tubes on stage that were perfectly synced with the music.

If you haven’t listened to album1 yet, do yourself a favor and listen to it while you read this review!download

everything matters (when it comes to you) – This track lightly eases you into start of the album. San sampled the vocals from his friend Appleby, which really paved the way to show his fans his new sounds. The four notes of the guitar theme are so memorable and gratifying that it makes everything feel so much better.

​lift me from the ground (Ft. Sofie Winterson) – San’s melodic layering is accompanied with Sofie Winterson uplifting vocals in this track. The feeling is super relaxing and mystic. It’s meant to fuel all the nostalgia and definitely makes you feel lifted from the ground. San wants to inspire the feeling of someone lifting you up and making you feeling alive again.

​show me – This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. San slows the album down just a bit. The guitars were recorded on a cassette tape to give it a warmer feel. The way it starts out is so nice and the vocals are very peaceful and moving. The drop is so sad; the sound of it almost makes you usure if you want to laugh or cry.

​brighter days by San Holo & Bipolar Sunshine –  San released this track prior to album1′s release with Bipolar Sunshine. This track’s positive vibes have helped a lot of people through their lives. The lyrics are absolutely relatable and it’s accompanied with a wonderful sound. It’s anyone’s song to get through the rest of 2018.

​always on my mind (Ft. James Vincent McMorrow & Yvette Young) – This one is probably the most interesting track on the album. San teams up with Yvette Young and James Vincent McMorrow. All their very different sounds come together to produced something so enchanting and uplifting.

​go back in time – In the beginning of the track, the listener is not sure what to expect. The vocals are flipped backwards but it leads into a very serene track. The drop feels like you are floating in space.

​love (wip) (Ft. Cassini) – There is so much feeling in this one. San describes this track about how love is always a constant back and forth. The collaboration with Cassini here brings in the intricate sounds that feel so warm and comforting.

​voices in my head (Ft. The Nicholas) – San jumps back up with a warmer track. The Nicholas’s vocals tie in nicely with higher pitched sound.This track makes you think about all the things in your head.

Worthy – San also released this track prior to album1. I remember listening to this on repeat throughout the summer. The tracks lyrics are very powerful and make you question life choices. The warmth of the sound brings on so many feelings. Have you ever had that feeling where you’re not sure if you’re worth it? That’s what this song is all about. Fun Fact- I won a Bitbird Twitter contest where you had to buy this track and Lift me from the Ground to win a Bitbird Cap.

​forever free by San Holo & Duskus –  Absolutely Amazing. This is my favorite song on the album. The vocal chop goes really well with the instruments. It makes the track sound really free. Duskus was the first artist supported and released on Bitbird, his sound and production is so unique.

​surface (Ft. Caspian) – San teams up with post rock group Caspian for this track. The soothing melody and vocals makes you feel like you’re home. There are a lot of layered synths and a post rock vibes with the guitar and drums.

​vestal avenue – The final track of the album leaves you begging for more. The album ends on classical note with a mix of a futuristic space vibe. The last couple notes of the album sounds almost the same as it started, and if you listen closely you can hear birds and other sounds in the background.

-Erika Swinney

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