chiprock chiptune Dark Wave electronica goth Jungle rave review techno vocoder

Holographic Catholic – Excommunication Review

Chipgoth for dark wave and Gameboy fans.

What does Holographic Catholic sound like?

If GLaDOS fronted a goth chiprock band.

The review of Holographic Catholic – Excommunication

I’m forever astounded by genre mashups I never knew I needed to hear until I hear them. That’s how I felt upon first listening to Holographic Catholic’s new album “Excommunication”. It takes a Gameboy (LSDj) aesthetic and places that style of chiptune into a gothic darkwave sound. Then Lei Ng Labrador, the front of the duo vocodes her voice like a Vocaloid over the top. It is a unique mashup of things I love in a totally new light.

Holographic Catholic

The key to “Excommunication” is its grimy industrial cybergoth tone. Tracks like “666 Underground” are bass-grizzled drum loops with eerie chipsets twirling around like death confetti to a demon waltz. Elsewhere techno and even jungle beats smash in with tracks like “Red Lights” and “The People We Used to be Are Dead”. The beats pulverise and add dirty noise to the synths which always have a coldness to them. It doesn’t matter if they are playing a beautiful cascading arpeggio – they sound harsh to the ear. They’re often underpinned with a hollow air atmosphere too as if the music is taking place inside a dense vacuum. This makes anthemic tracks like “Absolution” feel more dystopian. Add in some subtle organs and you have a gothic rave-up.

This continues across the album as Holographic Catholic finds new ways to groove in the apocalypse. “Cassette” takes me back to the harsh bleeps of early Spectrum and Commodore bleeps. Only softened by the Freezepop-esque vocal delivery, things still feel sad and broken as the multilayered bleeps spiral off into their own dissonance. “Slow Motion” sounds like Lamb but depressed, whilst “Checkerboard” reminds me of gothic techno artists like Lupa J. Bonus track “Apple Bottom Jeans” wraps up the album with a track designed around bendy sine waves that refuse to stay on a single note.

A spritely album over in 28 minutes, it gives you just a taste of this dystopian chipgoth world. As a listener, I wanted more. Some of the tracks feel like they are over perhaps a tad too quickly, with most tracks not clearing the two and half minute mark. Holographic Catholic makes a true statement with the album. It feels just as emotive and visceral as more organic music. I love seeing Gameboy’s and chiptune artists weaving their magic into other genres and this is one of the best examples yet. Give it a try, you just might love it.

Recommended track: Absolution

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