Boomkat Product Review:
Kelman Duran introduces LA’s Holodec to his Scorpio Red label with a sick debut album of flickering R&B torchsongs and ambient trap-soul that aches in a very special way. A massive RIYL Dawuna, Burial, Junior Boys, MssingNo, claire rousay, Joy O, Triad God, Sampha…
The smouldering ’All Dogs Come From Wolves’ is a definitive statement by a quietly gifted artist who operates inside the long shadow of late ‘90s US R&B and the space where it intersects ambient, neo-classical, and the weightless bass interzones of contemporary UK club music. Bare boned and bathed in a dusky Californian half-light, the album’s 11 songs feel unnervingly stark yet full of tongue-tip sensuality, making a virtue of negative space and atmosphere with a lo-fi soundtrack-like quality that evokes the idea of nostalgic reflection as the route to the future; “a reminder to look to the past to remember where you’re from, to see where you’re going.”
Holodec's been assembling rugged dancefloor constructions for years now, teetering between 2-step, jungle, nu-rnb, and vaporous ambient forms, but rarely has he been as pointed or full-bodied as he is on ‘All Dogs Come From Wolves’. It's an album that can't possibly be cleaved from the place where it comes from, documenting LA's immigrant experience (Holodec is Asian-American), and finding thematic common ground with Space Afrika's "Honest Labour", absorbing prismatic reflections of footwork, rnb and hip-hop instead of trip-hop and dub techno.
Holodec croons soulfully over muted piano motifs on 'Tiles', evoking the spirit of Sampha or Dawuna, but with a gaseous glamor that's unmistakably Californian. The mood carries into 'The Wild', utilising wistful pads and saturated noise but refusing to let his music sink into the background. If you feel yourself drifting, there's inevitably a voice, a womp, or a stifled drum sound to drag you back into its presence. 'Bounce' is rhythmically heavy, but still somehow smudged around the edges; beats don't so much pump as fray, the closer you listen the more you hear it falling out of time and just out of space. It's more like a memory of neon-hued dance forms than a replication of the thing itself.
Even at the album’s rudest, the flinty jungle drums of ‘Black Market’ still remain desiccated, just out-of-reach, suggesting not telling, in a way that makes the album’s other highlights such as the vaporous R&B voice note of ‘And My Angel Dies Too’ or the shivering baroque figures of ‘Spirit’ so unusually seductive with their nuanced grasp of inference and a reserve of humility.