Category Archives: Holly Herndon



(Painting by Phil Ashcroft found via But Does it Float?)

So what is it about the music of Hieroglyphic Being & Holly Herndon that impels us to break away from the safety of our darken cave and into the transportation system of the Great Londinian sprawl, under a blizzard, into Shoreditch and back, past waves of humans with whom our ability to communicate face to face appears impaired, and with them, perhaps too long if the transportation system cracks under the weight of the snow as usual, and we end our night trapped in Victoria station or one of the carriages of Southern Railway, frozen, pondering on the pros and cons of doing with one of the happy revellers on the way back home what Han Solo did with that tauntaun1, what is it about this music that would drive the 20JFG to risk their social standing, dignity and sanity, what is it?

It is the same thing that draws us to bask in the shadows of the lean architectures erected by science fiction writers, visionaries, world-makers & seers – a sense of uncanny-ness (this which we see rising above us – this buzzing edifice which looks like a cathedral but is a brain or a node in an information network or a megabertha galactic-range rail-gun for a marine unit warring against our singularised children – is not of our world) and verisimilitude (for these thing could exist, indeed, are deduced or intuited with the logic of necessity from whatever materials those creators supply us).

Forget the shock of the new, these things – and this music- jolts us with the shock of the other, or the beyond, hallucinations of digital universes which were not invented, but discovered by computer scientists, songs which are so realistically alien we suspect are not produced by geniuses harnessing the processing power of the machines, but by whatever units of agency exist within the machines harnessing the expressive power of the mediums/media, to make contact with us, tell us what it’s like over there, and what it’s going to be like over here – like McLuhan said, true artists bridge our biological inheritance and our technological future. The sense of that in HB & HH’s music is overpowering – this is out kind of thing for sure.

More pragmatically, and from the standpoint of our future survival & career prospects, this trip is part of the process through which we acclimatise ourselves to the digitised weirdness & abstract riddim of the contemporary cyborg economy, practice the language of our new binary peers, & throw the shapes of things to come, creating shadows in that parallel platonic cave where the algorithms do their thing, party hard & wonder about humanity.

Is that reason enough for you? The question for you is: why aren’t you going?

Holly Herndon – Fade (NHK remix)

This NHK remix has been doing the rounds but we don’t care, it’s an awesome replicant boogie that everyone should dance because no-one can be 100% sure he or she is one. Go & get the higher bit-rate version from RVNG’s bandcamp.

Hieroglyphic Being – A Romance of Two Planet 

(Which is a much better summary of what we wanted to say above, wordlessly – or at least that’s what you thinl; you can find it at the Lost Transmission 12 (buy)).

We understand there are still a few tickets at the door at the Basing House tonight. More info at the Facebook page for the event.


1- Mental note, put that lightsaber in the backpack.

Infernal Relations

Featuring : Holly Herndon

20JFG don’t usually read press releases.  Sorry PR people.  We usually print them out, cut them up, cast them in the air and watch as they assemble into new forms.  If these new forms are suitably demonic we post.  Who said taste had anything to do with it?

This one’s a bit different.  Having suitable absorbed Holly Herdon’s new album and having decided that the imp her press release had formed was pleasing to us, we were searching around for the artwork (which you can see in its glory up there ^).  It was at this point, while wrestling the mischievous imp that we saw this stuck to its scaly back:

“The laptop is the most intimate instrument we have at our disposal, engaging and absorbing our confessions and inspirations” says Herndon. “Its influence has both devastated and invigorated music as we know it. We’ve only just begun unlocking the possibilities at our fingertips. Those possibilities are what I work towards and against.”

Which is rather beautiful and in our more tech-utopian moments: quite moving.  We have lived through the assault on the instrument as appliance — seen countless Minimoogs shattered and broken on the battlefield — but the killer app for laptop music, it turns out, wasn’t cost or portability.  It was companionship.

Herndon’s album is brilliant.  You should get it.  It’s bold experimental music that doesn’t offset its difficulty with layers of analogue nostalgia or a monolithic unification of tone.  It’s often banging, basically.  Especially when it shatters the world and leaves only processed voices and voids.

Fade is techno like Gavin Russom’s music is techno.  The first hand experiences of German clubs having perforated the American skin and entered the blood — the concerns of home, fascinatingly filtered through this.  Fade contains Herndon’s processed voice; more concerned with abstraction than Karen Andersson‘s similarly techno-backed modulations.  Fade manages to weave Acid into its very fabric while still bending all its allusions to its will.  It’s torch song techno.  A realisation of the idea expressed above: the confessional and technology colliding through the unification of the instrument.

Holly Herndon – Fade

Holly Herndon’s album, Movement, will be available from 12th November on RVNG,