Hailing from Olympia, Washington Sean Peden is a producer who recently released an album entitled The Holding Cell. The Holding Cell is a heavy album in a number of ways. It revolves around topics such as depression, mental illness and suicide among others but also has thick, heavy production that combines layers of electronics, guitars, drums and more. Stylistically Peden is all over the place and flirts with genres such as ambient, death metal, glitch hop, dubstep as well as a few others. It may not be the most cohesive statement in the world but it is an ambitious effort that has Peden wanting to stretch his musical boundaries.
First up is the industrial post-apocalyptic sounding “Breathe In, Drain, and Release / The Holding Cell.” Imagine Broken-era Nine Inch Nails with Reznor attempting a couple more blood curdling death metal screams than you are used to. The drums hit hard as a distorted bass holds the main melody and various screams seems to come at you from every angle. As the song progresses Peden cuts the song up and towards the three-minute mark fades into an ambient atmospheric ending. It is an interesting segue that displays Peden’s out-of-the-box thinking. “I am Falling For You” has little in common with the first song. Peden creates a downbeat almost R&B style song that has an infectious vocal melody.
“I Will Always Be Here / 21393” combines beat-heavy trip hop style drums with lead guitar, vocal harmonies and what sounds like an autotune effect while “The Legacy of Dreams” could draw comparisons to that of Autre Ne Veut. “Haunt Me” sounds like the title and is something fans of early Tim Hecker will appreciate. It’s an eerie ambient piece that will give you chills.
The album ends with “And All These Things That You Love / No Phone Calls / No More Doors (The Sun Emerges Over the Rest of the World),” which is the most accomplished song on the album. It’s full of melancholy and dread and intertwines long drawn-out sparse ambient sections that morph into vocal lead parts. There is no chorus or bridge just a continuous, evolving piece of sound that was the highlight of the album.
The Holding Cell proves that Peden is coming into his own. His songs aren't very fluid back-to-back but overall the album has a number of strong moments.
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