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San Holo Staying Vibrant with New EP

Story by: Matt Garcia

Future bass icon San Holo is doing his part to stay vibrant and spread love during these trying times. Just this past Saturday, he featured on Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky Festival with a beautifully heart-warming set and we’ve cued up the Twitch video to the very start of his set.

It has only been a few months since releasing his single “Honest” featuring Broods as well as a mind blowing remix package of album1. San was gearing up for his label’s big event, A Night With bitbird, as well as the debut of his live band show, but the worldwide pandemic put those plans on hold.

Nevertheless, around the end of March, San tweeted about sharing his new music “on the fly” and slowly started releasing some songs. A month later, with four tracks out, San announced his all new EP stay vibrant, although he continues to add new music as promised. Similar to his first album, the music feels good and relaxing, with a simple reminder to breathe.

The opening track of the EP, “(if only I could) hold you,” sets the tone, starting with a skillful San Holo guitar riff that’s soon met by a deep synth when you hear the first “hold you” voice sample. Distorted vocal samples line the song throughout while the guitar plays out and the synths get stronger. The last section of this song features a big build up, followed by repeated guitar and vocal samples. San mashes them together to finesse a drop of melodic reveries, allowing a soft escape for the music to flow. The lo-fi feel to this song creates a calming scene that perfectly sets up the rest of the album.

Next up on the EP is a song with a simple message for the quarantine blues - just breathe! The second track “don’t forget to breathe today” is a ruminative masterpiece consisting of his signature vibrant sound design. The lo-fi vibe continues through this song, although this song hits a little differently, as San shares his message without any vocals. This track gets the message across purely through the deftly crafted soundscape. In a confusing time, this track offers easy going advice to stay calm and relax.

The third song, “in the end i just want you to be happy,” is another toned down release, focusing around San’s skills on the electric guitar, which dominate the opening of the song. Each build up features a slow but mesmerizing crescendo on his guitar. After the drop, he uses guitar chords with higher pitched synths to add another layer, without the use of any major percussion except for a few small hits. The lack of percussion settles the track down, giving it a soothing ataractic feel.

Next up is “idk anything (demo),” featuring a full length vocal performance. The soft vocals are backed by an acoustic guitar melody and the occasional chime. As it gets closer to the end, heavier guitar and synthesizers kick in for a quick blast, and just as quickly, fade out to the end of the song.

Originally announced as a four-track EP, San continues to add more music to the album. Two more songs have been added to the evolving stay vibrant EP: “we’re all just on our way home” with Lutwen and “in case i never see you again…” with Analogue Dear. The latter track is another lo-fi standout, showcasing a very hypnotic melody. With its long run time, the song begins very slowly and grows in intensity all while maintaining its trance sound. The song closes with a return to its light melody, taking listeners for a six minute adventure.

San Holo persists in his production of vibrant music, and his latest EP stay vibrant is another glowing example of his success. Much of his new music, along with edits of his classics, can be heard during his moving 45-minute Secret Sky set. San clearly loves the music community and his message is clear: take a breath and ↑%!

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