When I put on a new Holland Phillips album, I know for a fact that I will not be disappointed. The new album is called “A Presence of Three Minds.” It is a collection of 11 inspired songs, which take us all the way “From The Depths” and “To The Heavens” – which is the name of the first and last song. It is a thrilling musical journey by one of the finest artists on the New Age music scene today.
“A Presence of Three Minds” will be released tomorrow, 30 August 2019.
Holland Phillips began playing guitar and piano at age five, then following that up with a degree in Music Composition. Holland used his college time to analyze the classical masters, improve his piano and guitar skills, and focus on music therapy and how sounds affect the human body. His most recent albums are “Daydream Alley” (2015), “Circles of 8” (2016), “Under a Second Moon” (2017), “Leaning Toward Home” (2018).
From The Depths
I very much respect Holland Phillips for staying true to the analog synths of the 1980s. These days when artists have an arsenal of sounds available in their Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), only the sky is the limit when it comes to sounds and instruments. The sad truth is that you end up with a piece of music that cannot be played live and a sound that is not consistent. You can jump from a sitar to a Native American flute without even realizing it. Holland Phillips’ music is, on the other hand, is consistent quality from start to finish.
“From The Depths” is, as indicated above, the album opener. It starts with a scary, deep bass sound – but it is not to last; immediately afterward, a divine sounding selection of synth keys are heard. The trumpet, flute, and the light rhythm are amazing. I very much enjoy how we are, in a sense, lifted by the power of music. What a brilliant album opener!
Next out is “Oceanside.” Wherever you are, this song will give you an incredible feeling of relaxing by the ocean. I can almost feel the wind in my hair and the smell of salt. It is blissfully uncomplicated, like a day at the beach.
The Order of Things
Holland Phillips’ music is never easy-listening only. There’s a seriousness here too, a certain edge, that makes it interesting. “The Order of Things” is a nice contrast to “Oceanside.” It is a thoughtful piece, reminding us of how the world operates. There is always an order, although it can be hard to spot sometimes. The laws of nature are one such standard we always must take into consideration.
“Last One Home” has more of the same atmosphere. I love how the piano melody evolves. Balancing on the edge of melancholy, it ends on a high note. There’s plenty of life wisdom in this; even though you came last, you got home. Not everyone was that lucky.
“Finding Pixies” chases the clouds away. It is a playful and optimistic piece. It is impossible to feel down while listening to it. My favorite song on the album is “Seeking Sanctuary.” Like reading a sci-fi novel, new world unfolds before our inner eyes. Here are intrigues, love, and everything else that make a story great. And yes, someone is also seeking a sanctuary. Your mind decides. Phillips doesn’t need words to tell great stories. His typewriter is the synth.
On “Alone in the Crowd,” we are safely back on Earth again, feeling on a very human emotion; loneliness. Still, it is not a sad song. There’s an undercurrent of positivity here that’s telling us that this is more about finding your way. Yes, you are alone, and no one is reaching out to help you. Still, you are ok, taking one step at a time.
In The Queen’s Court
In Phillips’ music, there are many exciting twists and turns. Suddenly we find ourselves “In The Queen’s Court,” in an age of elegant dresses, knights and noblemen. It is lovely and inspired at the same time. After a day among royals, “Aftermath” is the conclusion – telling a story about the struggle of power that’s dwelling right under the surface. And it doesn’t end there; “Arendell Rising” has a nice touch of Disney’s Frozen. The song paints a beautiful picture of the city of Arendelle, which is the Norwegian-inspired home to Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. After Queen Elsa’s powers were under control, Arendelle could prosper once again. If you are not a Disney fan, you can still enjoy the melody.
“To The Heavens” is a worthy album closer. The deep, luxurious pads, the heavenly voices, and the trumpets all tell the same story; we have reached our destination. This is a place of peace, relaxation, and joy. It is a triumphant song. The voyage has ended, and we have a lot to look back on. Hitting the replay button seems like a great idea.
I can’t end this review before commenting on the title; what three minds are we talking about? It is quite an enigma. After having listened to the album many times, I realized that the answer was much closer than I thought; if you let the music guide you, you’ll experience a multi-dimensional presence. It is all in the music, just close your eyes.
In conclusion: I was not wrong when I assumed that the new Holland Phillips would not disappoint. Indeed, “A Presence of Three Minds” is a rock-solid release! Depending on how you look at it, the album contains 11 well-crafted stories or one long voyage “From The Depths” and all the way “To The Heavens”. Just like a good book, its atmosphere is something you take with you – long after the album has ended. And when you get a free moment, don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving for “A Presence of Three Minds.” It is an inspired, heartwarming, and powerful presence.
Score: 95/100 – See our scoring policy
For more music samples and information, visit musicbyholland.com