I first came across Poland’s Hola One a little while back, when I compared hearing the Hola One & Subterminal release, Tangency, as being like an artistic layman prowling the galleries of Tate Modern when our normal fare here is akin to gazing at the hardware and rockets of the Science Museum. Listening to the new Hola One album there's still that sense, but also one of understated breezy but cosmopolitan contemporary coolness that permeates through the minimalism of this new work. It’s an album of repeating movements and lyrical key-notes that I’ve liked more on each listen – and its intricacies mean that it’s not a record that you’ll access through a single play but for which you have to find an entrance, the opening of which will in turn open out the music, making it absorbing and embraceable: you just need to do a little work to find its heart and depth and you’ll be repaid for that. I’m interested to find that, reading back, I felt that way about Tangency as well.
Sitting here in a rather melancholic and understated mood myself – we’ll not explore that any further, trust me – I find that the entrance to this quiet suite, is through the vocals of Mandragora, an ethereal progressive trance vocal delivery that has equal measures of chill-out room and laser-swept dance floor to it and which entices the listener in its strangely alluring manner: Moments is built on moments. As for the mysterious Mandragora, all I can tell you is what I know, that she is a poet who is a ‘real-life’ friend of the musician behind Hola One (I’m intrigued also by the way that musician presents himself anonymously through the Hola One recordings that I have here, unnamed so that the musical identity is the one presented – I assume deliberately).
In its multi-faceted identities, its extremely difficult to codify what ‘space-rock’ means; Hola One, like others I’ve reviewed here over the years, doesn’t naturally fit into the perceived meanings of the label or genre; Moments is certainly a more of a electronic-psychedelic trance work, thoughtfully restrained and measured in its repetitive rhythms and structures, difficult to describe but actually uplifting despite its underplayed compositions – again those Mandragora vocals are part of the key to that.
Elsewhere on Moments, regular space cadets here will be delighted with contributions from Bridget Wishart and Everling, among others, so that this record does indeed follow the pattern of others that I’ve enthused about over the past several years as representing that creative energy and inspirational spark that comes from being a part of the wider fraternity that this scene has created around it.
You’ll see from the discography that follows this entry’s Q&A with Hola One, that across this musician’s clever, intricate canon there are a number of works that are available for free download – go in search of what this is all about.
Q & A
How did your interest in electronic music develop?
I created a HIP-HOP band with a few friends of mine from the neighbourhood in 1997; the band become popular and grew over the next years. We made a lot of concerts, 1997-2000, and I really started to enjoy this. This was really a crazy time, the time when you`re a teenager and the whole world is yours.
It was exciting to find that many people listened to your music in a club, dancing and having a good time and you are in the centre of this giving the people entertainment. People really liked our music and we become quite famous in the whole city, as we made very fresh music, with a lot of new ideas.
I quit in 2001, but the band is still alive. I just felt that the HIP-HOP music was too small for the ideas which I had in my head. This time with a band was something which gave me a strong inspiration to continue my work and pushed me to invent a new, very unique style, but I needed to invent it at first, which I see now took many many years :)
Which musicians have inspired you, and from where else you take the starting points and inspirations for your own - very intricate and unique - music from?
Life is a biggest inspiration, to be more precise I mean the feelings which are the strongest weapon. Actually the moments which are creating the whole life, these strong situations which you kept as your memories. Those moments, your feelings in current situation are reflected by your behaviour and everything that you are doing at the moment. If you could make music every time you want, one time it will be dark, when you`re sad and the other it will be more sensitive when you feel better, it will simply reflect what you have inside.
This you can simply hear and compare listening to my EP Lost, which I recorded just after breaking with my fiancé after six years of being together and the LP Moments, which is the time of the pregnancy, birth of my son, and the marriage.
I`m not focusing on any music style. I was born on HIP-HOP, through trance and Goa music, now I mostly listen to the minimal, which is cool as it could be very sensitive and the music should be sensitive in my opinion.
My favourite music is a live music, which combined with a nice place and good people could create a very good time.
Favourite artists: Extrawelt, Orb, Patchwork, Murcof, Trentemøller, Future Sound of London, Biosphere, Loscil...
Do you find that these tracks grow organically or do you have a definite idea of how they will work from the start?
There is no plan for the track prepared in advance. I can only schedule that today I will create a beat line or the synth line, but that’s it. Only the ideas from the current situation created in the real time. This kind of approach is demanding but it’s well-known that you cannot work every time you want. Of course there must be also something inside, some inspiration which is pushing you to create a new great sounds.
The whole process of making a single track is different, my record so far is six months for one track! I listen to new compositions many times and I`m looking for the missing piece and I`m recording it into, this is taking sometimes very long, but it gives a lot of satisfaction when you finally find the right sound.
The mix is build though many sessions step by step. I`m sometimes surprised about the result of the next step. This is when I`m making a project in a collaboration and this is something, which I really like a lot. There are many ways the idea can be developed, different people have different ideas and this is giving very unexpected and unique results.
How you go about composing your work?
Using only the hardware machines for sound creations, use computer only for the sound recordings.
The 1st synthesiser was Virus KB and I love it. The Virus sound is just pure and outstanding. I`ve been practising on this instrument for a few years on daily sessions and this instrument is still surprising me.
I’ve played on many synths, but due to the limited space in the sudio I`m using only three at the moment: Virus Ti, Nord Lead and Moog LP with extremely fat bass line. For beats I`m using Electron, and old school Jomox X-Base 01 with lovely analog kick. For effects I`m using Korg SX-1 and KP3 which is one of my favourite FX.
Hola One is a principally a one person project, but you bring in different musicians for particular tracks - how do you select who to ask to contribute and what have they brought to your music?
Hard to say. It started after I recorded an EP with Poros. This release is very important for me as it’s reflecting very strong feelings in my life from the past. This project suddenly grows and gathers music stars: Gitta Mac Kay and Bridget Wishart. Music and voice for each track was recorded by different musician and singer, so the whole piece sounds very fresh and it cannot be boring, because it has different genres of music. I really love to work in this way, to gather all ideas in one bag and mix them together :)
Would like you to tell the blog followers about your recording history and the various EPs/CDs that you have composed and released?
• Hola one – Hygh EP [free download!]
• Hola one ft.Elka Brown - Visitors EP [free download!]
• Hola one - Siepanczuje EP [free download!]
• Hola one and Poros - Lost EP [free download!]
• Hola one and Subterminal – Tangency [ CD ]
• Hola one – Timeshift ep [free download!]
• V.A. - past present and future [free download!]
• V.A. - My Outer Space Volume 5 [free download!]
• V.A. - My Outer Space Volume 6 [free download!]
• V.A. -The Future Lab [free download!]
• V. A. - Brave New World [free download!]
• V.A. - Obszar Dźwięku vol.2 [free download!]
• [rfr033] V.A. – 7 Years Rumpfunk [free download!]