Nick Holder Underground Alternatives

Toronto producer Nick Holder expands on his signature sounds and comes up with new classics. Vinyl junkies and fans of Holder's own DNH label will be familiar with many of these tunes, as most have appeared on DNH 12-inches over the past year. His prolific, less than perfectionist nature has allowed Holder to follow quickly on the success of last year's brilliant From Within. What Underground Alternatives is lacking in polish, however, it more than makes up for in depth, sweetness and confidence. Simply put, Holder has mastered the art of morphing track-y tracks into dance floor songs, ideally contextualised in DJ mixes, but certainly a strong album listen as well. Fans of Brazilian influence and Holder's hit of last year, "Da Sambrafrique," will be delighted with much of this album. "Summer Daze" is a lush, lazy and lovely venture into Latin beats, bright keys and lively sampled vocals. The beats get more chunky and appropriately in-your-face during "America Eats Its Young," a pointed and poignant commentary on racist policing and society, with the words of poet Jemeni. This album sees Holder not only branching out to work with more vocalists and express his own political views - check the Malcolm X speech samples in the late night, floor-friendly "Freedom in '63" - but also in sound. "Black Jazz" sees trademark minimal beats paired with sampled stand-up bass, jazzy keys, sax flourishes and highly complimentary jazz vocals. "Friday Night at Movements" expands on the jazz-house vibe with fresh programming, piano refrains and killer percussion. The piece de resistance is "Moments in Dub," simply one of the best house-tempo takes on dub that I've ever heard, Rockers Hi-Fi work included. This track is not only killing it on floors, but it also proves that Nick Holder is ready to take himself to the next level. (NRK)