Holven Fora – Who We Are Was Left Behind (2016)

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Rain is many things: a cleanser, a valuable life-bringer, a mood dampener; its army of droplets patter and pummel, their combined force arriving on solid ground to transform into their unified liquid mass in streams and rivulets. It scours and erodes, irrevocably changing the landscape upon which it descends, but it also brings a healing touch and important rejuvenation: a sense of karmic balance, loss and provision.

The opening trio of pieces sets us off at a jaunty and empowered pace; birdsong opens lightly in “Much Less From Nowhere”, a hint of placidity in nature before the disquiet arrives in the idiosyncratic stringed beds of this developmental force, the sky suddenly heaving to-and-fro with all the surprising drama of fresh weather. It drifts quickly into “We Are Forgetting What We Once Were”, the sky deepening its threat of change and imminent deluge, intermittent bass throbs pounding like a living heart within the clouds. “Five Off”‘s continuum of stabbing violin abruptly ends, breaking the surface tension and opening the gates.

“Another Time For Another Then” changes the attitude of the record instantly, descending into tentative ambience, piano strokes spilling out of the melancholy drones and fluted croonings. We’re awash in time, the water descending slowly and mistily, swirling about our heads with its grey and suppressing envelope, muting the world for us to dream of another. It sinks further into loneliness in “Your Expression And Walking Away”, the piano distant now, dim drones barely projecting¬†a cool and meagre light.

It fights back. “Running To You On The Rain” is fraught with woozy acoustica, its original piano and violin tattered and obfuscating by the sheeting squall, its progress slow and difficult as it forces through this elemental force. Its desirous forcings are short lived though, and “Free Fall To Creature” and “Pluvio Creature” doublet collapse into slow ebbs of pulsating synth strokes, a slow spiral into resignation as they become one with the weather, its individual face replaced by the multitude of the rain. How can we ever be alone when we’re out in Nature’s grasp?

Soft waves of contentment run through the new-found carelessness of “No Word For One Element”, humming synths drifting on intangible waves of sentiment, glowing with some sense of acceptance as the cloud’s begin to dissipate and we begin to see more clearly post-cleansing. Who or what we were in the past, together or apart, is left to time in the crinkling fuzz of closing “Romeo Gone”. Soft but not wholly sad loops turn over and out, hollow now that their time is up and are only now visited in retrospect. We care not for them now, the world’s a bright and shiny new place ahead of us, freshly showered and rejuvenated, full of life.