Band members Related acts
- Bill Holt --
vocals, keyboards, synthesizers
- none known
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Auralgraphic Entertainment
Company: Stone Theatre
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: SOLD 4890
Price: SOLD $300.00
I bought a copy of this album at a flea market, played it a couple of times and decided that it didn't do much for me. I sold it for a healthy profit and then started to miss it's quirkiness. By a strange fluke I then found two copies in quick succession and will now readily admit that there is something exceptionally beguiling about this bizarre concept album.
Living and working in Wilmington, Delaware as a state employee, Bill Holt was a closet musician. In the early 1970s he bought an Ovation acoustic guitar, a Moog Sonic Six synthesizer and some recording equipment. Quitting his job he spent two years learning how to play the instruments while recording what was to become "Auralgraphic Entertainment" in his home 'studio'. A true one-man show, Holt's two side-long pieces clocked in at over 50 minutes (unheard of for a record album) and made for an amazing concept piece. Starting out with clips from a John Kennedy speech setting forth the goal of reaching the moon, the plotline's not particular clear to me, but I'm guessing it had something to do with America's loss of cultural innocence. One of those albums that should be heard on either a high end stereo or through a good pair of headphones, 'Program Ten' and 'Program Eleven' mixed attractive singer/songwriter fair with an almost indescribable mixture of sound effects (broken glass, crickets, gunshots, rain, explosions, a Beatles snippet, etc.), radio broadcast (snippets from interviews with John Kennedy, Muhammad Ali, Robert Kennedy, LBJ and Walter Cronkite), and interesting (if dated) synthesizer blips and bleeps. It's one cool aural collage that's difficult to accurately describe. Holt's accomplishments were even more amazing when you recognized that artists like Brian Eno and Kraftwerk didn't get around to similar moves for another three to six years. How Holt managed to put it all together using rather primitive recording equipment (a four track TEAC recorder) is simply a mystery to me. Mastered at Philadelphia International's Sigma Studios, Holt tried to find a deal with a major label, but ultimately ended up distributing the collection on his own Stone Theatre label with most sales coming through a series of ads placed in Rolling Stone magazine.
Normally I wouldn't do this, but in an effort to give you a feel for the collection, here are the liner notes from the back panel of the album: "What's a Dreamie? Here's what some people have said: A significant contribution to the arts. It's like some kind of futuristic rock and roll. A mental mystery movie. A beautiful experience - like a good dream. Super music. Technological simulation of consciousness. Electronic imagery. A fairytale. A subliminal political message. Garbage. Magnificent. Insane. Challenging- it's like a riddle. A jigsaw puzzle for the intellect. Euphoria. Fun. Happy. Trash. An incredible patchwork of people, places, and things set to music. Headmusic. Therapy."
A couple of years ago Mojo Magazine published a list of 'out there' albums and this puppy popped up in the listing at # 37.
"Auralgraphic Entertainment" track listing:
1.) Program Ten (Bill Holt) - 26:10 rating: **** stars
At different times, I've changed my mind on which side of the album is strong. Coated in a lysergic--tinged fog, 'Program Ten' offered up a mixture of Holt's sweet voice over a surprisingly melodic mixture of strumming acoustic guitar, synthesizer burps, sound effects (lots of combat sounds), and various political speeches and news clips. There was even brief nods to the Fab Four via snippets of 'Oh Darling' and 'All You Need Is Love'. The 26 minutes seemed to blend at least two distinctive melodies/songs into a sidelong suite I'm guessing the titles might have been 'Sunday Morning' and 'More Than You'. I've always been surprised Holt did get hit with a copyright infrigement lawsuit for "borrowing" some of these clips.
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