‘Mangled Pianos’ / ‘Steal’ is the first of three planned two-track digital singles from Bob Holroyd on Real World X.
These insistent, quietly rhythmical and predominantly ambient pieces are explorations in marking time, of waiting and reflecting. Echoes of being in the moment, even when you don’t know what that moment actually is. Of fluctuating emotions: anxiety, resignation and defiance! But, also, positivity and an increased appreciation of the things closest to us that we often overlook.
The lead track ‘Mangled Pianos’ sets the tone for all the pieces that follow. Multiple similar piano lines laid on top of each other, each one played without listening to the previous part. Some takes time stretched, others at normal speed, create a repetitive but varying series of layers, sometimes working together in harmony, sometimes feeling discordant. At times calm and meditative, but also anxious and uncertain.
“The idea was to create an aural representation of the feeling I had during lockdown,” says Holroyd, “which was a time where I was doing the same, or very similar things, every day, without much variation or structure.”
“I had nothing else to do, and no excuse to stop me spending all day writing and recording, however, this became a huge pressure in itself. I felt that I should be getting on with stuff, but felt really uninspired. Also, the shows that I had planned, and the momentum around them, had to stop, so I felt very flat and disillusioned. Then, I think, by not trying, ideas started coming back.”
On this first single, ‘Mangled Pianos’ is paired with an urgent counterpoint in the track ‘Steal’. While still tinted with melancholia, ‘Steal’ is a pulsing, reverberating burst of energy, a release valve against the frustrations of all those nights-out lost and shared experiences missed.
released July 23, 2021
Written by Bob Holroyd
Published by Real World Works
Bob Holroyd has released 9 studio albums with music that ranges from minimal atmospheric soundscapes, to intense walls of
His work has been remixed extensively by a wide range of artists including Coldcut, Joe Claussell, Four Tet, Francois K, Mogwai & Nitin Sawhney + more.
His has extensive credits across TV and film....more
John Drumbo French from Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band worked with Thompson on two albums along with Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser.
Those two French, Frith, Kaiser and Thompson albums led me to this.
Also, Richard Thompson taught Hugh Cornwell (of The Stranglers) how to play the bass guitar in a band when they were both at the same school (Emil and The Detectives?).
With a career spanning 50 years and playing with two of my heroes (French and Cornwell) Thompson has produced a fascinating EP.