A Momentary Pause
2020 / Ageless Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Momentary Pause is composer/ multi-instrumentalist Holland Phillips’ ninth album to date. Composed during the pandemic lockdown of 2020, the music explores the personal and private feelings associated with solitude and isolation. From that description, you might expect the music to be very dark and lonely, but the moods vary from track to track and tend toward a more hopeful and positive perspective. As usual, Holland has created his own “band” using keyboards, flute, electric and acoustic guitars, and piano, giving each of the ten tracks its own sound while maintaining a balanced and cohesive listening experience for the full album.
Classically trained from childhood, Holland earned his degree in Music Composition. He also studied music therapy and his most recent albums have focused on creating music in a melodic format that resonates with the human body. Holland learned to play many of the orchestral instruments to better understand their characteristics, and that knowledge and experience really show in his music. After college, Holland became a touring musician with southern and classic rock bands, show bands, jazz ensembles and a folk-rock duo, bringing a wealth of musical experience to his original music.
A Momentary Pause begins with “Upon Awakening,” a very gentle and peaceful piece performed with keyboard instrumentation that includes strings and a quiet,bell-like sound, bass guitar and light percussion. This is definitely a lazy, sleep-in kind of awakening with no jumping out of bed or rushing required! “Whispers” floats effortlessly on a sea of tranquility. “Our Sweeter Days” is poignantly reflective, looking back on a less complicated or painful time of life. Flute, strings and other quiet instrumentation paint an aural vision in soft pastel colors. “Stepping Stones” starts out a little bit darker and more mysterious, gradually lightening the mood as it unfolds - a favorite. “Dreaming On Ice” is more piano-driven, but feels very warm, delicate and graceful - could be a blissful slow dance! The word “palindrome” refers to a word, phrase or sequence that reads the same backwards as forward. I don’t know if the piece that bears that title fits the definition, but I’m sure not going to question it! Either way, I really like the piece with its gently swaying rhythm and wistful melody. “Casting Shadows” often implies a negative influence, but after a somewhat solemn lead-in, the piece feels optimistic and, at times, playful. Flute, organ, and a catchy rhythm create a simple but very effective ensemble. The title track is another favorite and makes me think of a conversation where a loved one is reassuring that all will be well again after “A Momentary Pause.” Piano, keyboard and bass guitar wrap us in a warm blanket of hope.
A Momentary Pause is available on Amazon and iTunes/Apple Music as well as streaming sites such as Spotify. Check it out!
September 21, 2020