Friday, December 17, 2021

Album Review: Eleven After Midnight by Holland Phillips

Review by Lissette Cascante

They say the best writing happens in the nighttime hours and I heartily concur. The quiet respite from the bustle and distractions of the day which the night offers allows for inspiration and creativity to flow more freely. Perhaps that is why every song on musician Holland Phillips’ latest album Eleven After Midnight, to quote the artist, “was created in the hours between midnight and dawn’s light”.

Holland Phillips is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist who has been recording and producing electronic and contemporary instrumental music since the mid-nineties. Holland uses keyboards, flutes, electric and acoustic guitars to weave tapestries of beautiful melodies, and meaningful, heartwarming songs. Eleven After Midnight is Holland’s tenth album released in 128 countries in September 2021 and can best be described as a journey through the darkness into the light.

“Lights Off”, the first track on the album, with its crystalline melody seems to tuck us gently into our own safe space as the soothing piano and synthesizer arrangements in “All That We Are” and “That Distant Horizon” emanate security and comfort as we begin our conscious dream experience.

The pace picks up a bit in “Stranger Dreams” with its haunting melody fit for its title and the elucidation is left to the listener. “Wolf Moon Rising” seems to evoke the mystery and magic contained in the first full moon of the year, named after howling wolves, as it rises in the cold January night sky.

“Landing On Mars” with its easy rhythm, synthesizer strings and keyboard arrangement creates for me the feeling of travel and reminds how our dreams can take us anywhere we want to go. Pretty and reflective summarizes the piano and synth melody in “From The Music Fields”.

The title track, “Eleven After Midnight” is a more dramatic piece, with an almost cinematic feel. Deep emotions stirred up in the middle of the night recalling past events, perhaps. The song speaks to me of the need to redeem the time while the clock is still ticking, maybe why the next track that follows “Calling Us Home” featuring very nice piano work and flute accompaniment also has intense rhythm and determined pace.

The album concludes with two more beautiful piano compositions, “Pieces of You” and “At Night’s End” exuding a melancholia of dreams and memories which often visit us in the wee hours of the morning.

I really enjoyed relaxing and ruminating to the lovely tunes in this album. I felt the song titles, arrangements and melodies allowed me to form my own dreamy illustrations.

~Lissette Cascante for Aural Awakenings

For more information please visit Holland Phillips' website. Eleven After Midnight is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.