“…Nobody goes to his (Pagliacci) performance and doesn’t leave full of life. The depressed man said, doctor, I am the great clown Pagliacci”. I open with the well sequenced 9th track of San Holo’s Album2 because this track is the inner thesis of the album from the view of the artist looking in. This parable is insight into San Holo’s view of himself while fitting the outer theme of the emotional wrenching that occurs throughout this entire album. The sounds like what having a strong cathartic cry feels like. As we’ve all had them it hurts (*wink*), but you leave it refreshed, recharged, re-energized and ready to take the next step forward.
San Holo fights existential dread with what I call “the crying guitar”. Playing the guitar not to showcase his technical skills but to communicate emotion tough to translate into words. From there the free, floaty bass hits, synths and melodies are all there to enhance the communication, capturing the essence of the bittersweet feelings of pulling yourself out of sadness while also musically communicating that its OK to acknowledge and go through the sadness in every song, with lyrics meant to be as succinct as possible to get to the core of what he wants you to feel.
Something I’ve also noticed is his themed snare hit, what I’d describe as the “emotive snare”, that appears throughout the album in the “drops”. This particular rhythmic hit has so much explosive energy that it can be interpreted in so many ways depending on the context, like in “black and white”.
San Holo’s “album2” is an is an album that 5 different people could listen to a song and have a melancholic cry, an angry cry, feel inspired, an active happy, and a point of pure bliss, like on tracks “bb u OK?”, “Heal (%)”, “FEELS RIGHT”, and “thoughts and chemicals” the album has so much room for emotional interpretation. Tackling subjects like checking up on a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, getting up and knowing today could be better than the last, relationships, and letting yourself be open with yourself for a moment.
Allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable, letting yourself go thorough whatever you feel and think is how to listen. It has been said that San Holo is corny, and even had a viral video of him playing “IT HURTS!” and having a few girls hear it and laugh at him about it. This album is one artist attempt at healing the people who have been told all their lives not to emote and express their feelings. In a sense of solidarity and relating it’s his way of reach out to people to let them know that paradoxically, thought we are all “alone” in our minds, we aren’t actually alone in what we feel. If you’re ever feeling lonely, with no one to talk to, “bb u ok?” (Album2) is an hour and some welcome salve and reprieve.