Daniel Wohl - Holographic

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Release Date: January 29, 2016

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Holographic is the new album and series of performances from Paris-born composer Daniel Wohl. The album was co-produced with Paul Corley (Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker, Ben Frost) and features contributions from Lucky Dragons, Olga BellCaroline Shaw (Roomful of Teeth), Bang on Can All-Stars, Mantra Percussion, Mivos Quartet and Iktus Percussion. In a groundbreaking new model, Holographic was commissioned by pioneering organizations Liquid Music (of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra), MASS MoCA, Baryshnikov Arts Center and Indianapolis Museum of Art.



Acclaimed as one of the young artists “shaping our contemporary music scene and defining what it means to be a composer in the 21st century," (NPR) Wohl creates a remarkable hybrid of music that is part mechanical and part organic.  Instead of exploring the gap between his classical composition background and his collaborations within the ever-evolving electronic music scene, Wohl strives to close it.

"Holographic is about exploring different worldsimprobable combinations of soundshidden and imaginary sonic landscapes both acoustic and electronic," explained Wohl, "By processing or re-sampling more traditional instruments like strings, percussion, or the human voice, I wanted to create music that has a strong link to the past while at the same time being rooted in what I listen to on a daily basis. I was hoping to retain the warmth and inconsistencies of human playing while interfacing with the technologies that are available to all of us."


On Holographic, Wohl pushes his varied sound sources to their limits, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the electronic and the acoustic. Indeed, the first sound heard on Holographic is a deep static drone, which sounds as if it might have been created by a modular synth, but in fact, was captured by placing a microphone on a resonating snare drum. From this murky, warm texture, Wohl creates a percussive exploration that ends with bursts of arpeggios in the vibraphones (tracks 1 and 2:  "Replicate, Part 1" and "Replicate, Part 2").

Similarly, "Pixel" (track 6) investigates the sound that results from the unconventional playing of an instrument: this time a glockenspiel (as heard in the opening). Toy pianos, piano, and percussion collide with Wohl's noisy electronics to create a joyful clatter. On "Formless" (track 3), Wohl uses the strings of the Mivos Quartet to create a weightless texture that is perfectly complemented by dark, pulsating electronics.


The title composition on the album (track 5, "Holographic") stuns with its combination of propulsive rhythms and densely layered melodies.  The instrumentalists of the Bang on a Can All-Stars are merged completely with Wohl's interleaving samples of vocals, bubbling water, and decaying electronics.  

Track 7 ("Source") is a gorgeous piece (featuring vocal contributions from composers Olga Bell and Caroline Shaw) that sets a new standard for how vocals and electronics can work together in music.  In Progression (track 8) Mivos Quartet and Mantra Percussion are locked into intricate polyrhythmic interplay with a prepared piano - harmonies get progressively darker over the course of the 7 minute piece. Meanwhile, album closer "Shapes" (track 9) – a collaboration with L.A.-based experimentalists Lucky Dragons – is a shimmering and mournful piece that concludes the album with a somber, elegiac tone.


The live premieres of Holographic will take place in New York City (Baryshnikov Arts CenterJanuary 21 & 22, Philadelphia (FringeArts) February 5, Indianapolis (Indianapolis Museum of Art) February 6, and Saint Paul (Liquid Music) February 11, 2016. Wohl will call on the talents of Mantra Percussion and the Holographic String Quartet (featuring members of Flux Quartet and String Noise), blending the virtuosic talents of his performers with a newly commissioned visual component and rich electronic creations to bring his spellbinding multimedia work to life. All live performances of Holographic will also feature projections from Los Angeles-based visual artist Daniel Schwarz, engaged and commissioned by The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul.


Press and News:

Undertones: The Best Compositions of 2016

NPR Music: 10 Classical Albums That Saved 2016 - "Wohl's dense, wildly textured blends of acoustic and electronic sounds offer dark and mesmerizing spaces — perhaps a little threatening, but also irresistible."

NewMusicBox: 2016 Staff Picks - "exhibits that style of slow and thoughtful musical development with well-orchestrated blends of electronic textures and instruments"

Q2 Music: LPR Live - Daniel Wohl on Physical Performance and Electronic Sound

NPR Music: Top 100 Songs Of 2016 - #58

Ted Gioia: Best Albums of 2016 - #87

NPR Music: 100 Favorite Songs Of 2016 (So Far) - "A shaman of sound, Daniel Wohl conjures dream-like electro-acoustic spaces, dizzy with swirls of buzzes, blips, steely abrasions, chugging trains and breathy vocalise. The singers, Pulitzer winner Caroline Shaw (Roomful of Blues) and Olga Bell (Dirty Projectors), are evocative and unrecognizable — just two more instruments in Wohl's teeming aural wonderland."

Chicago Reader: "blissfully falls through the cracks between styles, colliding ambient, electronic, experimental, and pop to make a cogent, mesmerizing whole"

Second Inversion: "The beauty of this album is that with each piece, Wohl artfully erases the line between acoustic and electronic, creating three-dimensional, holographic sound worlds which engulf the listener in their textures, timbres, shapes, sounds, and of course, their shimmering colors."

The Wire: "a bold and exploratory album"

Avant Music News: Picks of the Week

A Closer Listen: "truly original...the beauty of listening [to Holographic] is the inability to predict where Wohl will head next; yet the album is held together by a yearning, exploratory tone."

NewMusicBox: Daniel Wohl - The Seamless Ideal

Pitchfork: 7.7 - "gorgeous...unusual, junkyard sonorities and febrile rhythm"

Star Tribune: "Music of seared beauty, still hopeful, but tinged with apprehension for an uncertain future."

Minnesota Public Radio News: Whether made by a computer or a cello, to composer Daniel Wohl it's all sound

MinnPost: "Wohl’s music has warmth...the music is beautiful: layered, rhythmic, moody, and teeming with sounds, many mysterious but somehow familiar."

NUVO: Daniel Wohl on his Holographic collaborators

The Key: "a mesmerizing, richly textured electronic haze"

Textura: "Rather than play it safe, [Wohl] throws all of his cards on the table and in presenting his music so boldly makes the strongest possible case for himself."

WNYC's New Sounds: Orbiting Daniel Wohl’s "Holographic" - "a foreground soundscape combining playful percussive textures which draw from a well-stocked arsenal both scraped or struck acoustic instruments and sculpted electronics"

NPR Music: "an arresting space where electronics and acoustic instruments commingle with cinematic vibrancy"

Time Out New York: "rich, electro-acoustic compositions...ethereal music"

The Big City Blog : "[a] complete listening experience...the first entry on my 2016 best new music list."

WKCR-FM NY: Daniel Wohl on Afternoon New Music

Liquid Music Blog: Deeply Human: An Interview With Composer Daniel Wohl

The Boston Globe: Virtual reality meets ‘Holographic’ imagery - "gorgeously perplexing soundscapes"

NPR Music: Songs We Love - "Source" - "[Wohl is] an innovative supplier of colorful sounds applied with a painter's touch."

Liquid Music Blog: Returning to Collaboration: MSP Film interviews Holographic visual collaborator Daniel Schwarz