• LTR020
    Holland Andrews

Multi-disciplinary American composer and performer Holland Andrews shares their third release for LEITER. The four-track EP ‘Doubtless’ was informed by a string of various residencies, among them sessions at LEITER’s studio within Berlin’s celebrated Funkhaus complex, where Frahm himself contributed to the lead single ‘Rules’.

If the untameable style of Andrews’ earlier music was – thanks to its broad, mysterious instrumental palate – hard to pin down, ‘Doubtless’ confirms that it’s slowly revealing itself as inimitable, much as Cocteau Twins’, Scott Walker’s or Talk Talk’s did (though inevitably none are comparable). “My goal,” Andrews explains, “is to translate the sounds coming from inside my heart, with my intuition and mind free of doubt. I want to articulate what I feel as if it were pouring from me like a fountain.”

Certainly, there’s little out there like the hymnal ‘Surrender’, which opens the EP in intimate fashion before culminating in celebratory saturation. “The song’s title,” Andrews explains, “refers to the release of the patterns you hold onto that keep you from feeling free, which is hard because those patterns offer a great sensation of protection for valid reasons. Letting go and receiving help and love when you are scared is one of the most courageous things you can do.”

The EP maintains this luxurious, transcendent(al) quality throughout, with ‘Surrender’ calling upon Andrews’ voice, clarinet and synthesisers, and ‘Grief’ reaching beyond the substantial towards the celestial. “I wanted to play with the non-linear pacing of the experience of grief, including its dynamic waves of intensity and presence.” ‘Rules’, meanwhile – developed from an improvisation with Nils Frahm – manipulates elements from the preceding track. “I wanted to make something fun from a short sample of our jam together. You can hear the signature use of his mellotron.”

‘Doubtless’ concludes with a title track built around a massed choir of multitracked vocals repeating a crucial instruction, “Give me (us) your legacy of doubt”. Its euphoria is further reflected in the meteor shower of its opening lines and in its climactic crucial epiphany, “I know nothing at all,” which provides as much relief as it displays humility. “Making ‘Doubtless’ almost broke me,” Andrews recalls. “I created countless layers of me singing while smiling, with a bright yellow colour like the sun glowing in my belly. For the longest time it was unintelligible, and I just kept listening until what I wanted to turn it into made itself clear. It was a deep, intense process where I got to confront my own limits.”

‘Doubtless’ fulfils these ambitions, and, indeed, Andrews confesses, “I listen to it confused about how I made it. It’s like I was possessed by some kind of beautiful demonic angel who broke me open in order to have me love myself and everything as much as I can.” And it’s true: at times it feels as if, were one to lie on one’s back while the EP plays, one might even see stars overhead. There’s nothing quite like it, in other words, though, if one had to define it, one might simply say it sounds like Holland Andrews.

‘Doubtless’ is available via all streaming platforms, and it follows 2021’s ‘Wordless’ EP and 2022’s ‘Forgettings’ EP. The eight tracks of the first two EPs are also released as a vinyl LP, ‘Wordless / Forgettings’, available via the LEITER store.