Photophob: Still Warm
Hive Records

Still Warm, the sequel to Austrian Herwig Holzman's (aka Photophob) debut Your Majesty Machine, fashions a stately, atmospheric take on the typically seizure-gripped industrial breaks genre. Rather than bludgeoning the listener with a tiresome hour-long lesson in drill'n'bass beat science, Holzman adopts a more orchestral and humanistic approach where beats form a singular part of a more complex compositional equation. The album's fifteen tracks form a dreamy song cycle of sorts, with each piece contributing to a larger melancholy whole, its nightscape mood conveyed directly by “Huge Storm Coming (Fairy Falls)” where a speaking voice forecasts impending catastrophe. Holzman incorporates voice samples into other tracks too (“What Went Wrong,” “A God Given Gift,” “Because We Like the Rosary”) but does so restrainedly, making them function as intermittent punctuation. The disc teems with slippery lopes, elegant piano minimalism, dark synth atmospheres, and occasional hits of wiry acid; it at times wends down a gleaming electro path and at other times gravitates towards gentler climes: with beats nowhere to be found, the ambient excursion “The Golden Rule” is so stately it verges on church music, and “All of Them” closes the album in becalmed style.

August 2006