Hollowphonic is an ambient, space-rock, shoegaze, electronic band based out of the Canadian city of Toronto, Ontario. The outfit was founded by Brad Ketchen in 1999. Hollowphonic’s sound is described as having heavy atmospheric reverb soaked guitar, extreme dynamics, watery sounding vocals with a hybrid guitar based sound fused with electronics.
Brad Ketchen has enlisted a barrage of musicians to back him up live. Some of these, included members of Crystal Castles, The Uncut and Old Soul, while he frequently collaborates with Portland, Oregon, Film Director Rob Tyler, who’s film Painting work in the ‘Color and Modulation’ series is normally projected onto the live set.
Among other shows, Hollowphonic played a 4 song set for the Toronto Spacemen 3 benefit gig for Spaceman 3/Spiritualized record sleeve designer and artist, Natty Brooker and some scaled down solo shows, including playing material from his In Support of Living project, in and around Toronto. Brad has also been involved in remixing artists and mixing sound for feature films and most recently a 3D bit mapped projection documentary project on the Canadian composer ‘Glenn Gould’.
The new album Viaduct is a culmination of a half a decade of work. Released in the summer of 2013 on Chicago imprint ‘Minor Sphere Records’, the Sister label to ‘Go Forth Records’.
Do you want to drown in a symphony of sounds, and be taken on a surreal journey to an emotional place? Well, that’s exactly what this is like. We’re talking about music that’s all encompassing, and makes you feel like you’re in a dream.
Viaduct is melodic and chill without those polarizing vocals to disturb the excellent and interesting soundscapes. When vocals do often appear on the album, they are indeed fused into the arrangement so they blend in with the music. The sound is full of lush, rich and deep ambient textures, stretching and warping through down-tempo rhythms and some crunchy guitar chords.
The album contains 13-tracks, of which I thought the standouts included: “In Support Of Living”, “Absent Without Leave”, “In Need”, “Weak In The Knees”, “Remember Forever” and “Endings”.
We usually have a tendency to discuss albums song by song, but Viaduct is, to me, just one long piece of great music, performed in a varyingly delicate and often wistful tone of voice, as the mood weaves its thread through every track, binding them together into a singular piece of music that is ominously and intensely beautiful.
Listening to Hollowphonic is like having your inner fears confirmed and then gaining peace of mind from acceptance; sometimes you just have to lie back, sink into the arms of despair, and let it gently soothe you as you go to sleep.