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Posted on November 4, 2022

FRESH JUICE: Hold It Down by Sloucho

Cabal co-founder & Director Cóilín Phelan debuts his first release under new moniker Sloucho with 'Hold It Down'.

Words by Oisín Campbell & Michael Savage/ Design by Michael Savage

Buy/ Stream here: sloucho.bandcamp.com/track/hold-it-down

Sloucho creates a bustling array of evolving sounds over six minutes accompanied by a thought-provoking groundhog day style music video. It is an evolving track that blends tight snares, sliding 808s, and soothing vocals into this genre defying sound It has rich FX mixed nicely in with echos and flangers and not to overuse the word, but the 'hyperpop' sound is front and clear. The dissected and cut up vocals that come from the track 'CRYBABY :*(' by Dijon, waver and shimmer along repeating “can't you see? wish you'd put your trust in me”. Cóilín has much to be proud of in this production.

Sloucho, alias of Zizzou, has had a busy Summer playing at AVA Festival and All Together Now along with his CABAL compadres and had time to direct the beautiful mini-film for 'Hold It Down'. The video stars Craig Cheko bound to a cinder block as two unusual entities look on. The captivating lead battles his fate in empty, void landscapes and fails to escape what is destined for him at the end of the video.

'Hold It Down' is layered with emotion in its lyrics and overall construction, with key melodies that almost ring with a feeling of regret. The track and its accompanying video as described in Phelan's own words portray the outlook that 'to desire is to suffer'. It becomes apparent that the motive of the art is to depict the sometimes overriding difficulty of life itself. Cóilín's description of the process and outcome breaks down the picture seamlessly.

“We follow an unnamed soul on their journey to accepting their fate. Their heart, which represents their desires, is externalised in a cinder block which they are attached to. They are faced with a series of challenges, the first of two they fail, and are sent to die by a rising tide.

Behind the scenes of the production of the track's video

(Pictured: Behind the scenes of the production of the track's video featuring Craig Checko and being directed by Sloucho himself)

We come to understand that each time that they untether themselves from their fate they are punished. On the third challenge they finally accept that if they escape they will only end up back where they started, forever in this loop. So they accept their fate and drown themselves, for which they are rewarded with resurrection.”

The track maintains this haunting yet inspiring feeling throughout and becomes almost addictive to listen to after a few plays. Sloucho's attention to the craft and the layered meaning of the sound and its story encompass each other blissfully both audibly and visually.

Sloucho cover pic

(Pictured: Sloucho)

Pioneering collective Cabal are influencing the music scene in Ireland with creative efforts in music, visuals, and spaces for artistic expression. They have grand ideas and co-founders Cóilín Phelan and previous guest of the page, Colm Brandon, plan to boldly explore them. The wider Cabal team is expanding and it includes Dillion Reid (Brawni) who recently showcased his new music productions using synthesizers. Sloucho's talent can be seen again as he stepped for the design duties on Brawni's cover art.

Brawni album art

The first trip into the creative brain of Sloucho is a deep one and begins a very promising trail of audio and visual sensory from Cóilí.

The audio for 'Hold It Down' drops today, Friday November 4th with the music video will follow on November 9th.