released May 11th, 2010

from the album - Latin America

from all music

The Toronto-based electronic collective Holy **** were formed in 2004 by Graham Walsh and Brian Borcherdt. Described as "blip-hoppers" and "a shabbily dressed Kraftwerk," Holy **** began creating lo-fi electronic noise music with old analog musical and non-musical instruments, including a 35mm film synchronizer. Without the use of laptops or other conventional electronic instruments, they strove to re-create their chaotic, Casio-driven live presence on their albums, the first of which — a self-titled effort — appeared in 2005.

Known primarily for improvising on-stage with a variety of electronic devices strewn across a table and held together with duct tape, the two toured heavily and wrote tracks for their 2007 album, LP, while on the road. Featuring collaborations from Dave Newfield (Broken Social Scene) and Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), the album received a Juno Award nomination for Alternative Album of the Year and earned a spot on the short list for the Canadian Polaris Music Prize. Former Enon drummer Matt Schulz joined the lineup in 2008, while Holy **** wrapped up a well-received tour with M.I.A. The full band returned in 2010 with a third album, Latin.

album review

Starting with a barely audible whisper and building slowly to a sonic roar of gorgeous static in “1MD,” Holy Fuck’s 2010 release focuses on the fine art of turning glacial ambience into fierce grooves. Latin bumps as hard as prior albums, but now stripped down to only one drummer, Matt Schulz from Enon, the quartet has a larger tendency to break free of locked motorik rhythms and experiment with massive dynamic shifts and intense swells. This is soundtrack-primed music that does for electronic soundscaping what bands like Explosions in the Sky and Pelican did for metal. Although it’s primarily instrumental (with the occasional buried vocal), the sum of the parts are so masterfully layered that the listening experience can become spellbinding -- while, on the other hand, it makes for some nice background reading music as well. Latin plays best in its entirety, but specific tracks stand out. “Lucky” has a touch of Brian Eno circa-Zooropa flavor, with a steady bassline, a pedal-mangled guitar, and a cracking drum-beat that masks a distant, muffled, sing-along falsetto; “Stay Lit” blends Rhodes keys with glitched synth blips before crescendoing into a sea of horns and drum bashing; and "SHT MTN" takes a cowbell beat and steadily grinds it into sandpapery bits of feedback and fuzz, accented by girlish shouts through in an echo chamber. For Holy ****, Latin is a monumental step forward. By trimming back the choppy art-house disjointedness and quirky Casio tones, the band has successfully evolved their sound into something much more provocative, heavy duty, and rewarding.

Track Listing

1 1MD Holy **** 4:08
2 Red Lights Holy **** 3:48
3 Latin America Holy **** 4:49
4 Stay Lit Holy **** 3:19
5 Silva & Grimes Holy **** 5:13
6 Sht Mtn Holy **** 2:51
7 Stilettos Holy **** 3:55
8 Lucky Holy **** 4:11
9 P.I.G.S. Holy **** 6:02