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Darren j Holloway Salt Heart

Darren j Holloway, aka SINNEN aka Damselfly returns, this time as himself; though given the shifting, amorphous nature of this release you have to wonder what he is actually revealing.

Holloway casts a musical net which captures elements of Silver Pyre, John T Gast, DC Pierre or Coil’s more zoned-out moments. – Incendiary Magazine

Handing over the mic to artists/musicians who break down their new albums track by track/share the thought process behind the creation. Today we’ll hear from Darren j Holloway, aka SINNEN aka Damselfly, British musician who, in addition to his solo work, runs HREA’M Recordings.

Salt Heart, his latest, is out now on TQN-aut label.


The Dreamer’s Haze – This was the second track recorded during the album sessions. It’s a song about being enchanted by a ‘goddess’, in whatever form that such an entity may take, and giving oneself over completely. It’s intended to capture the melancholy of love and devotion, the point at which beauty, romance, joy, pain and sadness coalesce. It’s sparse, just a drone organ and baritone-tuned overdriven guitar providing the waves of sound below the mournful echo vocal before some low-in-the-mix cello joins to play us out.

Incorporea – The clue’s in the title. Carrying on the partly-supernatural theme (I wanted this album to be about escape from the often-draining mundanity of much of modern life), this one is a bit scarier yet still comforting, I think. Death is Not the End as Nick sang. To be secular doesn’t have to mean abandoning the magic. The first track recorded for the album, it starts with a sampled washing machine of all things before the strings slide in. The one-track vocals have a weird spacial reverb added which makes it sound like a young child is singing along. Gave me goosebumps when I listened back. A distorted organ played through a guitar amp joins in with some ambient guitar. It’s a musical nod to the aforementioned Mr.Cave. I like the hand claps in it. Did you believe?

The Ebb – No vocals on this one (this album was the first vocal thing I’ve done in many years), this is a building and hypnotic piece using some fuzzy low-frequency synth underneath an echo-location-type melody before some feedback / screech guitars take it to a noisier conclusion. I wanted it to sound a bit like the tide coming in, hence the title. As with all the music on Salt Heart, a minimal number of instruments and tracks were used and I let the space between do the work. It ends with just a lonely guitar.

To Save a Drowning Horse – was inspired by a conversation with TQN-aut honcho Andy Wood. It’s another baritone guitar number, this time in a drone-slow-waltz style with some choir sounds on synth following the melody line and more feedback guitars added as it builds, picking out odd notes and swelling around. Originally it had some spoken-word semi-poetic verse but I dropped this as it sounded better without it. You have to make up the story of the poor horse yourself.

Saltheart – I wanted to bookmark the album, so this one starts with an organ again, accompanied by some swathed guitar sounds, this time heavily synthesised through virtual amps and effects. The tale told is that of the imagined ghosts of the crew of The Mary Stanford Lifeboat whispering in my ear as I stood at one of my favourite, but saddest, places in the world, Rye Harbour lifeboat station. I had a cold when I recorded the vocals and decided to leave what were going to be the guide vocals in as I liked the way they sounded, slightly straining at times to find the notes and trying not to cough, they sort of fit the (again) melancholy feel of the piece. Some Eastern Hammer keyboard sounds are played towards the end as the guitars fade out, they reprise some of the notes, falling behind the beat as their salt hearts dissolve into the sea. The End.

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