Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: A Sense of Distance
Holland Phillips
Cover image of the album A Sense of Distance by Holland Phillips
A Sense of Distance
Holland Phillips
2024 / Ageless Records
40 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Sense of Distance is the twelfth album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Holland Phillips and could easily be his best album so far! Two years in the making, the album was produced by Holland Phillips and Ronnie Campbell, and was mastered by three-time Grammy® winner Ricky Kej. The ten instrumental tracks are all original compositions and include piano, keyboards, flute, percussion, and orchestrations with various combinations of instruments - all performed by Holland. Quoting part of the liner notes of the album:

"This isn't a theme album, although it very well could have been. I wrote it for the senses, a journey for the ears and heart to wherever they may want to take you. If you listen with a good set of headphones it allows the music to lead you toward your own hopes, dreams and memories; and if you keep the title of the album and songs in mind you might get a glimpse of places you've been, with a sense of how far you've come...."

Music is an incredibly powerful medium and this album certainly proves that point! Holland also took the photo for the cover artwork which is of the Blue Moon of August 2023 during the Perseids meteor showers. He took the photo from his front step!

A Sense of Distance begins with "Perseus Rising," a gentle, dreamy piece that sets the mood of the album with piano, strings, guitar, and light orchestration. "Through the Rabbit Hole" is quite a bit darker and more mysterious. Keyboards, horns, strings, choral voices (no lyrics) and powerful percussion create a dramatic soundscape that I find compelling - a favorite! "Bittersweet" feels more reflective, and I don't know anyone who doesn't have bittersweet memories to recall. "Behind the Veil" is more orchestrated with piano, keyboards and guitars in the lead for most of the piece. The slow, easy tempo is relaxed, but the melody seems to be asking a lot of questions. Mostly keyboards and strings, "Enchantments" is gently hypnotic and soothing. The title track has the piano in the lead with strings, bass, and percussion in the first half of the piece and more orchestration in the second half. The simple piano melody gives the music a spacious quality, and the easy rhythms are hypnotic - also a favorite! Flying solo can mean a lot of different things, and the piece with that title allows you to decide for yourself. It has a slightly bittersweet flavor, but it also feels free and graceful. "Hope Remains" begins with feelings of loss and tragedy - almost mournful. Fully orchestrated, cellos and tympani give the music weight and depth - hauntingly beautiful! "On Whistler's Ridge" is my favorite piece on the album with a catchy rhythm supporting the free-flowing piano. Jazzier than most of the other tracks, there is also a sound like someone whistling, but it isn't quite human. I REALLY like this one! "For The Love of It" brings the album to a close with warm encouragement to follow your heart in all that you do (my interpretation). Refreshing!

A Sense of Distance is available from Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well as streaming sites including Spotify. Be sure to check it out!
July 10, 2024
This review has been tagged as:
Latest Reviews
More reviews of Holland Phillips albums