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holy other - Held
Held is the eagerly anticipated debut from one of the jewels in Tri Angle's crown, Manchester's own Holy Other. It's not any kind of departure from last year's striking With U 12", but a subtle refinement of its themes: the same quietly anguished, crepuscular vibe reigns, and virtually every sonic element - from Burial-esque vocal clips to the synth pads, hell, even the drums - seems to sigh. For all their DNA-level foundation in US hip-hop/R&B and British soundsystem music, the crashing waves of 'Tense Past' and the magnificent 'Love Some1' owe as much to the airy gothic grandeur of This Mortal Coil as they do to, say, Keyboard Kid or Clams Casino. On the rather more lithe, club-attuned 'Inpouring', the clicky, scuttling drum patterns deftly summon UK garage and the taut d'n'b minimalism of Instra:mental's mid-decade work, while 'U Now''s teasing suggestion of a footwork riddim opens up more space for yet more melancholy drift. Subdued, heartbroken and drug-hazed, this is perhaps one of the most satisfying iterations of the Tri Angle aesthetic yet, and an impressive statement in its own right.