I checked my player three times after starting Holy Fuck‘s latest, Latin, just to make sure the thing was playing. There was nothing wrong, as I discovered with each quick glance, it’s just that the album’s opener, “1MD,” takes its own sweet time in opening up; a few minutes go by before you actually hear something music related.
When the skies finally do manage to part, this Toronto-based project delivers some impressive electronic workouts.
Particularly with those first three tracks (“1MD”>”Red Lights”>”Latin America”), Latin hints at the same kind of sonic drama that you’d expect from an instrumental rock outfit that adheres to the stories that can be told with just a few guitars, drums, and effect pedals.
Except there aren’t any guitar heroics here, just a few warm-blooded humanoids managing some cold-blooded keyboards and one vitally important drummer. The kind of drummer that has to contend with breaking sticks, missing downbeats and the completely mundane art of replacing drum heads.
Alternating between those aforementioned forays into atmospheric crescendos and big emotional dynamics, Holy Fuck also plays with Krautrock repetition quite effectively.
“Silva and Grimes” conjures up a bit of Neu 2 during its five minutes of finely-tuned piston rhythms, while “Stilettos” also layers atmospherics over its own tight-knotted analog drums.
The electronics themselves also seem to be from the archives, recalling simpler times when the musical focus was on new, novel sounds. It was also a time when the best sounding percussion couldn’t be created from a microchip, which is why drummer Matt Schultz deserves an extra round of acknowledgement. He has no qualms about playing anything more than simplistic patterns, using fills only on rare occasions and replicating beats that would have merely been programmed in, if in the hands of a lesser band.
Holy Fuck proves to be anything but lesser on Latin, an emotive electronic instrumental album that plays with such humanism that it should find its place on even the most anti-electronic listener’s playlist.
Video: Holy Fuck – “Latin America”