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JOHN HOLDEN

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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John Holden biography
Hailing from Cheshire, England, a multi-instrumentalist / composer John HOLDEN has had a strong emotional connection to music in his young age, especially progressive rock. Having played and composed for many years, John made the decision to commit to creating a full album of original material. In collaboration with lots of session musicians (see his album page) John has recorded and released "Capture Light" in 2018.

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JOHN HOLDEN discography


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JOHN HOLDEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 13 ratings
Capture Light
2018
4.65 | 12 ratings
Rise and Fall
2020

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JOHN HOLDEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Capture Light by HOLDEN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 13 ratings

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Capture Light
John Holden Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

3 stars A great gentleman of music who starts to release his own tracks, nothing new at the moment. A musician who sees himself surrounded by musicians and singers of great renown, there it raises questions about the musical niches that said gentleman seems to have. When each prestigious guest comes to give a hand, something extraordinary is expected; it's almost the case with this first draft of John HOLDEN who offers on this album good neo-prog and melodic prog. The female melodic voice gives charm to the compositions, but it's not enough to make a very good album, it lacks a little maturity, a little pure creation to make a remarkable album. From a sure source, the last one has on the other hand this little extra that makes you want to dive back into it immediately. In short, let's not be too hard, but conciliatory.
 Rise and Fall by HOLDEN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.65 | 12 ratings

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Rise and Fall
John Holden Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I was really not ready to listen to any new music this year until I was given notice from Bandcamp that John Holden had released a new album. Some of you may remember John's 2018 debut, Capture Light, the one that stirred none other than Maestro Steve Hackett to endorse and proclaim it's success, and an album that earned a B+/4.5 star rating from me. Well, John is back and much of the same amazing guest list from Capture Light is back contributing to eight brand new, amazingly sophisticated, mature, and polished religiously- or classically-tinged songs. Back are brilliant guitarist Oliver Day, singers "That" Joe Payne (THE ENID, METHEXIS, ZIO), Peter Jones (TIGER MOTH TALES, CORVUS STONE), Sally Minnear (daughter of Kerry, has performed with DAVE BAINBRIDGE), and Jean Pageau (MYSTERY), as well as Nick D'Virgilio (TEARS FOR FEARS, GIRAFFE, THUD, SPOCK'S BEARD, MIKE KENNEALY, COSMOGRAF, DAVE KERZNER, BIG BIG TRAIN, THE FRINGE), Oliver Wakeman (yes, THAT Wakeman; YES, STRAWBS) and Vikram Shankar (GRIOT, GRAVITY, LUX TERMINUS, THREADS OF FATE, SILENT SKIES, OUR DESTINY, and single song contributions of Billy Sherwood, Jon Camp (RENAISSANCE), Michel St.-Pere (MYSTERY), and Zald Crowe.

I don't know how John has attracted such a stellar cast of collaborators, but I'm so glad he has: his compositions, so steeped in religious and theatric traditions, are rendered here, as on Capture Light, beautifully, with absolute top quality skill and the highest quality of engineering and production. I usually don't begin writing reviews this early in the year, but this album was an auto-buy for me and has been on regular rotation since it came out a month ago? and I can't get enough of it. Five star songs: 1. "Leap of Faith" (10:11); 4. "Dark Arts" (7:06); 5. "Heretic" (9:18), and; 6. "After the Storm" (6:08).

Four star songs: 2. "Rise and Fall" (6:22), 3. "The Golden Thread" (4:53), and; 7. "Ancestors and Satellites" (8:56).

 Capture Light by HOLDEN, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 13 ratings

BUY
Capture Light
John Holden Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A Cheshire cat has emerged from years in a monastery as a progressive rock artist--at least that's what the gorgeous music on this debut release feels like! His ideas and sounds have apparently been so winning that he was able to enlist the support and contributions of a veritable Who's Who of modern Prog World! Some of, if not THE, best singers in the Anglo Neo Prog world! (All of whom just happen to possess those extraordinary voices that seem to come out of church choir training.)

1. "Tears From The Sun" (9:06) opens with a long instrumental section in which virtually all of the sounds and instruments used conjure up, for me, the musical traditions of the Christian churches I spent time in during my youth. When Joe Payne's angelic voice(s) enters after the church organ in the third minute I am lost, won over by the brilliance of this new composer. And one cannot say enough about the genius of Joe Payne (who I know better from his work with Nikitas Kissonas' METHEXIS project than The Enid). I fear I'm not going to say enough about the contributions of guitarist OLIVER DAY while reviewing this album. Oliver Day. Keep that name in your mind--you'll be hearing more from him in the not-too-distant future, of this I am certain. My lack of appropriate praise will, no doubt, be due to the fact that I can get confused with the work that composer John Holden himself is doing, but this multi-instrumentalist (Oliver Day) is such an important part to all of these songs. His ability capture that sacred feel of Christian-inspired compositions from all eras of the past is uncanny. And nice work from Oliver Wakeman on keys. (18/20)

2. "Crimson Sky" (5:53) a fairly simple, straightforward rock song that is uplifted by the excellent guitar work from Oliver Day, John Holden, and Billy Sherwood--as well as by the soothing voice of Julie Gater. (8/10)

3. "Capture Light" (7:26) takes us to church--or is it that the church is being brought to us through prog music? This song is inspired by the art of Sixteenth Century Venitian painters Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. The use of lute by Oliver Day is brilliant! And, once again, the contributions of Oliver Wakeman on multiple keyboards is outstanding and not to be ignored. A top three song for me. (13.5/15)

4. "Ancient Of Days" (7:52) again, I this music, this song, makes me feel as if I'm at a church revival! It's so beautiful, so theatric, so uplifting! Nice drum work by Emily Dolan Davies and awesome prog choir from Jean Pageau, Marc Atkinson, Lee-Anne Beecher, and Julie Gater. (12.75/15)

5. "One Race" (6:11) containing a wonderful vocal from Joe Payne, this song mixes up styles and tempos to seemingly take us on a little biographical journey of 1936 Olympic hero, Jesse Owens. I love the jazz guitar flourishes in the fifth and sixth minutes as the story's tension mounts. Awesome song! One of my top three songs from the album. (9.5/10)

6. "Dreamcatching" (7:04) an instrumental inspired by Native American traditions that John decided to employ some spoken word clips from the creation story of the dreamcatcher. The music of this one falls a little more into the category of New Age/World Music. Nice contributions from Peter Jones. (12/15)

7. "No Man's Land" (6:13) inspired by "green therapy" and the disharmonizing psycho-spiritual effects that city life can create due to its disconnect from nature, John tried to incorporate a jazzy feel to this song to represent the city perspective. Julie Gater's soothing, healing voice must surely represent that of Mother Earth/Nature. Gorgeous singing, gorgeous lyric, gorgeous song. (9/10)

8. "Seaglass Hearts" (5:09) yet another absolutely gorgeous song with great performances from Emily, Julie, Peter, and, of course, John himself. Though the choice is difficult, this is probably my final top three song from the album. (9/10)

Total Time 54:54

I'm a sucker for anything with a religious tradition behind it--music composed out of sincere devotion and positive inspiration--and John has certainly delivered this in fullness. I also appreciate tremendously the clarity and spaciousness of the sound production. Great job! And I can't say enough about the talents of Joe Payne, Oliver Day, Oliver Wakeman, and Julie Gater!

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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