“One thing that really stands out about Holland’s compositions is that they are structured and flowing, passionately played, with great movement, intricacies, and details we don’t find everywhere. This is all very special, much like those wee hours of the evening between midnight and dawn. Bravo, Holland.” – Dyan Garris
When I was young, my mother used to say nothing good ever happened after midnight. Well, I can definitively say that is not so. Sorry, Mom. “Eleven After Midnight” is the 10th album from award-winning, multi-instrumentalist, Holland Phillips. Every song on this, his tenth album, was created in the hours between midnight and the sunrise. Holland says that’s when he does his best work. I agree. The 41- minute, 11 track album is gorgeous in every way.
The “New Age Contemporary” instrumental album is mainly piano based with varied instrumentation such as synth, guitars, flutes, strings, percussion, and percolating electronica. The music is influenced by the isolation of the pandemic times, but it is decidedly upbeat, uplifting, forward moving, and positive. Optimistic and hopeful, we look forward to the new day.
The album opens with the beautifully melodic, “Lights Off.” It can feel so very peaceful after midnight when all is so quiet. There’s a certain special serenity to that time of night. This piece is like a lullaby to the soul, and an ode to a time when one can get deeply in touch with oneself again. With its sweet flutes, strings, and piano instrumentation, it’s a very pretty beginning to this dynamic album.
“All That We Are,” which follows, is just as lovely in all its nuances. I had the pleasure of reviewing Holland’s previous album, “A Momentary Pause.” Holland paints rich tapestries with his multi-layered soundscapes, and the album, “Eleven After Midnight,” follows suit. Every track is melodic and memorable, rich, and utterly resplendent.
Piano based, with percussion and gorgeous orchestration, “That Distant Horizon,” is a true favorite. Movement, build, and a great melody, passionately played, make this “feel-good” piece unforgettable. It charted at #2 on our September New Age Notes Radio chart, by the way.
Percolating electronica, strings, and another wonderful melody in “Stranger Dreams” all contribute to the mysterious, intriguing sort of vibe of this song. I really love it and think it’s perfect for film as well as just enjoyable listening.
Things slow down a little in “Wolf Moon Rising,” which is another favorite on this album. This has an ethereal feel to it, and it is a most beautiful, emotionally evocative piece that flows and ebbs in all the right places. Completely gorgeous, and one for the playlist, to be sure.
The dramatic, cinematic, “Landing On Mars,” is excellent and exciting. This features a droning synth, dark strings, and scintillating electronica.
Expansive and atmospherically spacious, “From the Music Fields” is captivating with its superb orchestration and mind-sticking piano melody. It’s another rich, intricate, and vibrant tapestry here.
The title track is cinematic and dramatic, with flute and electronica adding even more depth to the already lush soundscape. This is a most interesting piece with multiple and varied nuances.
“Calling Us Home” uses lower register piano, flute, strings, synth, and percussion, to create a wonderful musical tapestry. Here’s another that is just out of this world. Holland’s artistry is amazing.
The rhythmic “Pieces of You” is another one to love. Passionate and emotional, this will stick with you like our sweet memories often do.
The album closes out with the melodic and heartfelt, “At Night’s End.” Does the night have to end? I suppose so. But after an ending there is always the beginning again. One thing that really stands out about Holland’s compositions is that they are structured and flowing, passionately played, and with great movement, intricacies, and details we don’t find everywhere. The arrangements are spectacular. This is all very special, much like those wee hours of the evening between midnight and dawn. You’ll want to get the whole thing.
Official artist website: http://www.musicbyholland.com/
“Eleven After Midnight” is available as both a physical CD and a digital release. Get it at Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.
Arranged and produced by Holland Phillips and Ronnie Campbell at Three Octave Studios in Cleveland, OH. Mastered by Dave Hevalow at SoundLAB
Higher Level Media