Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Best Albums of 2012, Edition Ten: Held

Held — Holy Other

Of their 2012 offerings, Clubroot’s is dark and meandering, Burial’s is lonesome and distant, and Four Tet’s is heavy and precise. Holy Other’s Held is every one of these descriptions in one, but incredibly, it isn’t a mess.

The rhythm section lays below about three feet of fuzz and grime, in a manner similar to Clams Casino’s production style. It’s a vinyl record, replicated digitally (though I was given the LP as a gift this year). But it isn’t all heavy. The reverse sampled vocals over these dark, brooding, and noisy beats offer a sense of delicacy and balance.

The cover art’s photo of sheets in dappled sunlight relay the intimacy that the album frequently reveals through these light and dark contrasts. True, Holy Other borrows tricks from Burial quite heavily, but he does so in a softer, fuzzier, out-of-focus manner. It’s undeniably trendy, but it’s also undeniably one of the year’s best.