Published Mar 21, 2014Clocking in at over 130 minutes, Motion – Connected Works is a massive instrumental collection of arpeggiating modular synthesizers and aggressive metallic drones. Much like the progression of Holtkamp's work with Mountains, Motion sees his experimental tones being pushed further and further into sharper, more aggressive territory.
The album consists largely of works composed by developing ideas whose seeds were planted during live performances, a method of creation that Holtkamp seems to favour. Motion's first three tracks, however, were completely realized in studio.
Holtkamp's range of instrumentation on Motion is largely made up of bouncing arpeggios of synth sequences, accented by hard strums of electric guitar and long, high register drones (see "Vert"). While this recipe in combination with Holtkamp's left field approach to improvisational writing can often induce an escapist euphoria, his constantly aggressive timbres can grow tiresome on the ears, especially on the 130minute extended CD version. However, it's Motion's first four new tracks on which Holtkamp's detailed sonic recipe delicately balances this aggression with his psychedelic tendencies to create the release's strongest tracks..
Songs here require long periods of time to develop through their full potential. Those looking for a release as melodic and positive as Mountains' Choral won't find it in Motion, as Holtkamp favours experimentalism over traditional song-building structure, which is ultimately both the album's best and worst feature.
Overall, Holtkamp's constant push into uncharted territory on Motion – Connected Works is highly respectable and a new step forward for him, but its length and fatiguing, aggressive timbre hold it back from being his most pleasurable release to date. (Thrill Jockey)