Holcombe Waller Into the Dark Unknown (Napoleon Records, February 22, 2011)

Holcombe Waller Into the Dark Unknown (Napoleon Records, February 22, 2011)

Download “Risk of Change” From The Album

“For melodic sweep, the prize goes to Holcombe Waller, whose self-released Extravagant Gesture is a small pop epic.”
– Ann Powers, Revolver Magazine

“He’s got the crazy-beautiful, four-octave voice of an androgynous seraph, but he’s really a coffee-house troubadour from San Francisco and a classically trained pianist, a jazz saxophonist, and a visual artist.”
– Kate Sullivan, SPIN Magazine

Portland via San Francisco singer, songwriter, composer and video artist Holcombe Waller is preparing the release of his third album, Into the Dark Unknown, on his own Napoleon Records on February 22, 2011. The album is made up of songs conceived on his recent “theatrical folk” touring experience titled “Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest.” The show was presented in cities across the country as well as Canada and Croatia. To celebrate the release of his new album, Holcombe is offering the song “Risk of Change” from the album as a free download. (Feel free to post and share.)

Holcombe’s musical career began back in college. While an art major at Yale, he produced and mixed two albums for Bryce and Aaron Dessner and Bryan Devendorf, who would later go on to form The National. The three would also play on Holcombe’s first album, Advertising Space, which he released in 1999 after returning to San Francisco on his own Napoleon Records. That album was followed by Extravagant Gesture (2001), which Ann Powers praised for it’s “melodic sweep” and called a “small pop epic.” It also featured Bryce Dessner on guitars.

In 2005, Holcombe made the move to Portland, OR and began work on his next record, Troubled Times. The album was a stylistic shift for Holcombe, incorporating sparse arrangements and folk influences to his sound. The album featured Ben Landsverk and Mia Doi Todd.

Holcombe’s body of work goes far beyond the bounds of recorded music. Over the course of his decade-plus long career, he has ventured into the worlds of theater, performance art and video installation. These multi-disciplinary works included 2007’s “Patty ? Townes.” Holcombe described the original two-act performance as a “folk operetta.” It was based on the songs of two renowned singer/songwriters: Patty Griffin and Townes Van Zandt. The original performance was staged at New York’s famed Joe’s Pub, long a champion of Holcombe’s work.

Next came 2008’s “Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest.” More theater performance than traditional concert, it featured music, monologues, movement and even large-scale video projections. Music was provided by Holcombe’s multi-instrumentalist ensemble The Healers. The end result was a highly visual representation of a defining characteristic of Holcombe’s music: the expression of intensely personal emotion. “Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest” was presented in cities around the US, Canada and even in Croatia. The Public Theater in New York staged the production for a two-week run as a part of the Under the Radar Festival and it was also commissioned by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.

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