A Holley, Jolly Christmas

Dec 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Lonnie Holley is a visual artist and musician from Atlanta, GA who's received considerable attention for his mesmerizing releases on the Dust to Digital label in the last few years. Maybe you saw him last year at Trinosophes, opening for Bill Callahan? His largely-improvised live shows are a mesmerizing mix of synth washes and a vocal delivery straight out of the best 1970s spiritual jazz. the music is buttressed by these funky backwater grooves, which serve to save it from excess.

I'd like to submit that Holley's first record, 2012's Just Before Music, might make for some fine, zoned-out holiday times music (you can sample the entire thing at the link there). It's partly because there are a lot of bells clinging around in his music, but mostly it's just the music itself, which recalls elements of the floating free jazz of Pharoah Sanders, the New Age bliss of Laraaji and the proto-punk keyboards of Suicide.