Ten years have passed since 'The Hurt Kingdom', a mini album which confirmed Jonathan Stolber as one of the most interesting musicians on the entire British scene. An incredible voice and a pure talent, poised between art-rock and electronics, who has spent the last few years learning how to produce his own music.
The transition from To Bury A Ghost to The Holy Road cannot yet be fully judged, given that this single, in which Ben Weedon (Maybeshewill) and David Dhonau (Her Name Is Calla) collaborated and which was produced by James Kenosha and released for the piano-day, it contains only two songs but we are certainly in the presence of something very intriguing.
Neoclassical elements have been added to Stolber's sound spectrum which have made his proposal cinematic and seductive. Sounding as if Radiohead's 'Kid A' were trying to reconstruct what had just been deconstructed or if Ólafur Arnalds had found a darker setting than that of 'Broadchurch' to express his compositional impetus.
'The Minotaur (Mesto In A-Minor)' is a gust of wind coming from Northern Europe, a series of warm and enveloping chords that invite the listener to approach and then overwhelm with an exciting crescendo and powerful arches. 'Slow It Down' is an outro lasting just under a minute, dark and incisive, which increases anxiety.
The Holy Road
The Holy Road have shared debut single ‘The Minotaur (Mesto in A-Minor)’ for Piano Day (28 March) with all proceeds going to Tiny Changes – a charity that is close to our (and many of yours, we’re sure) hearts.
Taken from the forthcoming ‘For the Blood of England’ album, the track was mixed by James Kenosha (Dinosaur Pile-up, Grammatics, Dry the River) and mastered by John Davis.
Self-described as ‘neo-classical’, it would sit nicely next to Ólafur Arnalds or Matt Emery in your collection but there are also more post-rock leanings that align with Nordic Giants or 65daysofstatic throughout – especially in the hair-raising piano-led opening.
The stirring strings add a grand, almost cinematic Hans Zimmer-esque touch to the beautiful piano as the tempo builds around the halfway point of the four minutes. There’s then a stomping sound blended with the kind of poignancy that served The Antlers so well before the song finishes with an introspective flourish.
“Slow This Down” + “The Minotaur”
The Holy Road is the project of Jonathan Stolber, based in the East Midlands in the United Kingdom.
Ahead of a debut LP out later this year, Stolber has two tracks on Soundcloud that show a stirring sound. The works tout spacious soundscapes with ample emotive pull, in addition to their own unique soundscapes.
“Slow This Down” features stretched-out strings and elongated vocals, reminding aesthetically of The Antlers’ emotive pleas. The one-minute mark sees an arpeggio-like rise in emotion and effervescence, if only for a moment.
“The Minotaur” rides on a brisker piano lead, with clanging percussion and creeping strings also playing prominent roles. The project effectively combines neo-classical, post-rock, and art-rock elements for a uniquely captivating sound.
The forthcoming LP is mixed by UK producer James Kenosha (Grammatics / Dry The River) and mastered by John Davis (Manic Street Preachers / Bloc Party / Joy Division).
Artist: The Holy Road
To celebrate Piano Day 2020 (March 28th), The Holy Road teases the first two tracks from their debut EP For The Blood Of England. With a rising, cinematic melody, lead single ‘The Minotaur (Mesto in A-Minor)’ is a minimalist neo-classical piano ballad. As the song crescendos with the introduction of the spiralling strings and the rattling percussion, The Holy Road builds a haunting ominousness that only escalates as the drums pound increasingly harder, driving an evocative ending to the track.
‘Slow This Down’ is a much shorter b-side track to this double release but is nonetheless atmospheric. Humming and whirring synths fight against the gentle strings, desperate to be heard. Met by a vocal line for the first time, the layering of these instruments against each other brings a warm yet discordant ambiance which is eerily calming to listen to. Like a siren’s song, ‘Slow This Down’ is an attractive song with an unmistakeable grandeur about it, but it’s the sinking feeling it gives you that brings out its true depth.
The Holy Road is a neo-classical art-rock artist that has launched this double release on Piano Day not just as a teaser for their upcoming release, but all proceeds from the lead single ‘The Minotaur’ will be going to the mental health awareness charity, Tiny Changes.
This is ominous, mysterious work–the piano-led piece grows from elegant beginnings to a pounding minimalist percussion meeting soaring, high-drama strings. A very evocative piece.
The Minotaur features on the Nils Frahm curated Piano Day 2020 Playlist. Please give it a listen, over two hours of beautiful, elegant independent piano-centric compositions.
The Holy Road is a new project from Jonathan Stolber, the Northampton based composer and songwriter of acclaimed post-rock band To Bury A Ghost .
Jonathan will debuting his new project with the single The Minotaur, a delightful, Nyman-esque piano-led instrumental ballad which you can listen to below, on Piano Day 2020 on March 28. It's been selected for inclusion in the official Piano Day playlist.
He will release his new album, For The Blood Of England, later this year.
All proceeds from Bandcamp downloads of The Minotaur will be donated to mental health awareness charity Tiny Changes.
Jonathan has chosen his favourite post rock piano pieces for us ahead of piano day which you can check out below. it makes for fascinating listening.
THE HOLY ROAD
The Minotaur (Mesto In A-Minor)
According to Jonathan Stolber, who is The Holy Road, I once said nice things about his erstwhile post-rock outfit To Bury A Ghost.
I find that hard to believe as me and post-rock usually go together like Rolf Harris and a sleepover. But I’m an old drunkard who toils with the days of the week so have to take his word for it. Or maybe he just says that to all the boys.
Now, pay attention. You might all be waiting for the End of Days but it turns out that Saturday 28th March is Piano Day 2020. Nope, me neither. But that’s why this is coming out when it does, in advance of his forthcoming debut album “For The Blood Of England.”
Actually, as we’re all staring down the bat infested barrel of the apocalypse, the lead track here could easily soundtrack the end of the world. It has that slowly going down in flames feel to it as the piano (naturally) and string quartet slowly build to a cataclysm. People who know who Michael Nyman is will really like this. The rest of us will go, ooh, that’s a bit Dark Knighty, but will equally enjoy it.
Oh, and all proceeds from the Bandcamp download ‘The Minotaur’ will be donated in aid of mental health awareness : http://www.tinychanges.com – so just buy it on Saturday anyway. “Pure joy is just a memory”. Tell me about it.
The piece is a sensitively composed and performed tribute to a departed friend and the proceeds from Bandcamp sales go to a mental health charity.
It is rather beautiful and melancholic too, piano and strings dominating but with plenty of dynamic contrasts and switches in mood and tempo. I am delighted to add that it won a highly competitive Track of the Week poll on my radio show too.
“The problem with people is they want a tragedy with a happy ending…”
Jonathan caught up with Gemma from Musicforthefuture.com to discuss the Holy Road Piano Day release
The Wonderful Echoes & Dust currently have the Video Premier of The Piano Day Single Release "The Minotaur."
The Video was produced & directed by Ryan Pearce (Oceansize / Vennart) & is a melancholy / cheery wave goodbye to youth.
The Minotaur - The Holy Road
Selected as Track Of The Week on Neil March's Show "Trust The Doc" on Exile Fm