AIR, EARTH, SPACE, WATER
(Coriolis CR-0110CD) CD 55m
Dropping off the music map in the early 1990s,
Walter was one of the potential stars of the synth music scene before that. Having been a member of the band Amber Route, he’d already got a small following by the time of his debut release RELATIVITY. If you want to know more about him, read the “Face To Face” double interview in Audion 12 where synthesists Walter Holland and Loren Nerell interview each other. Last we knew, Walter was having some success on the US live scene with the band Doppler Shift (a duo of Walter Holland and Sam Rosenthal), after which he disappeared.
So, it was a surprise to learn after such a long break that Walter was actively making music again. Actually, Walter’s return dates from three years before this release, with a most unlikely diversion titled STORYTELLER PART 1 featuring “a dark take on beloved folk songs from England, Ireland and Scotland” to quote his own liner notes. So, what of AIR, EARTH, SPACE, WATER – Walter’s return to synth music? Well, it’s all rather nice and gentle music, and pretty much a continuation from where he was heading solo wise 35 years ago, with nine tracks in the 5 to 7 minute frame, each with a different focus. Often with a slight air of Steve Roach or Michael Stearns in the music, there’s plenty of depth and darkness to balance out the brighter tuneful elements. So, there’s no bop along rhythmic stuff, all of it music that’s got attention to detail, full of emotion and sensitivity. Ultimately, it all feels like some grandiose concept work, especially with the incoherent vocal fragments heard within some pieces, and some returning or variant themes occurring throughout. I doubt any fans of Walter’s old releases will be disappointed.