Australia’s Wood & Wire has been making a name for itself with a series of quality releases, each featuring distinctive triple triangle covers. After two releases on Drug Arts, Hollow Press has joined the W&W stable. While three releases in a year may seem like a lot for a young artist, it’s not unheard of, especially when artists like Celer and Linear Bells seem to be releasing new work each month. The difference is that as a new artist, Hollow Bells is developing fast, inviting listeners to witness his quick evolution.
While we’ve placed Heads in Dust in the drone category, a more accurate description is ambient industrial drone. This genre was extremely popular a couple decades back, but never broke through to the mainstream. It’s not clear whether Hollow Press is familiar with the works of artists such as Gracious Shades and Raison D’Etre, but his music is a continuation of their artistic vision. Slow-moving drones occupy the gaseous center of Hollow Press’ music – it’s not, in fact, hollow – and around this center lie synth patterns, glitch textures, occasional vocal samples and the embryo of a beat. This morass is both anxious and melancholic, falling just short of paranoia. Titles such as “Broken Doll”, “Voiceless” and “Numb” hammer home the point with dull disinclination. When the narrator of “Consciousness” repeatedly intones, “I’m not a dream”, the opposite seems true; the passage seems a self-delusion.
The most effective pieces make little or no effort to be accessible. “The Depths of Sorrow” is as claustrophobic as an airless factory, with buried whispers, distant rattles and relentless foreground crunching. The “relatable” section of car horn and rhythm lasts only seven seconds, and arrives just before the end. In like fashion, “Empty Hours” lopes forward at a steady, forlorn pace, saving its monk-like dirge for its final minute, while “Hidden” hides a sweet melody in its final half-minute. The alternately seething and sullen “She Wrote Poetry” underlines the past tense of its title by exuding a Plath-like vibe. This poetry doesn’t uplift, and it certainly doesn’t rhyme.
Based on Hollow Press’ current rate of release, we expect a follow-up by fall, a fitting time for such music. These grooves are sleepy, yet restless, like the spirits of a haunted grove. (Richard Allen)