Following a gaggle of home-crafted CD-R releases and online tracks, Spanish producer Cráneo Prisma took his bass-happy indie electronica project Holögrama to the next level with Waves, a proper debut released in 2014 on mind-expanding Chicago-based label Trouble in Mind. Even though the album is a mere six tracks long, Prisma manages to create a gorgeous environment of affable rhythms, hypnotic droning pop songs, and textural ambience that recalls various chapters in the history of experimental pop music. Both opening track "My Bicycle" and the following tune "Moonlight" have booming, rubbery synth basslines and pulsing motorik rhythms. The friendly repetition of these songs shows a direct timeline of influence, starting with the zoned-out jamming of Krautrock bands like Harmonia, which trickled into the more pop-minded synth adoration of Stereolab, which took a turn toward more depraved fuzziness with mid-2000s albums from Panda Bear and Deerhunter, and reaches a new coagulation with Holögrama. Indeed, Prisma's vocals on "Moonlight" have the same whispery affectation and droning echo treatment as Bradford Cox, though they slip from time to time into an inexplicably cartoonish Rasta accent. Vintage drum-machine clicks and twinkly synth sounds mesh with ambient clouds on "In Your Head" before an overpowering bassline drops in, taking over the song in the best possible way. Holögrama's lengthy meditations often dissolve into tuneful noise, or in the case of the somewhat island-flavored "Pink Sky," lengthy David Gilmour-esque guitar soloing. Though not as refined as some of the best purveyors of this type of sound, Waves is a warm, detailed, and often incredibly strong debut. Prisma's delay trails, aquatic synths, and reliance on powerful, bubbly bass all add up to a highly personalized approach to lysergic indie electropop, and point to even more greatness on future releases.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas