Dorian Holley - Independent Film (2008)

Dorian Holley
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Independent film is about telling stories that deserve to be told, but that few mainstream outlets will finance. These movies are often viewed as unmarketable or too niche to find enough of an audience to make a profit. Though often developed with heart and passion on a shoestring, the personal stories these works tell can be memorable, and some even become classics. Dorian Holley's debut album, Independent Film, fits much of the independent film experience. It is a skillfully produced work of technical prowess and presents an artist with a love for his craft. While this musical picture show isn't a classic, there is a soothing mood that is sure to satisfy fans of smooth jazz. However, audiences of a more muscular, action packed soul experience may prefer to wait for the DVD (or, in this instance, a friend's download).

Independent film is about telling stories that deserve to be told, but that few mainstream outlets will finance. These movies are often viewed as unmarketable or too niche to find enough of an audience to make a profit. Though often developed with heart and passion on a shoestring, the personal stories these works tell can be memorable, and some even become classics. Dorian Holley's debut album, Independent Film, fits much of the independent film experience. It is a skillfully produced work of technical prowess and presents an artist with a love for his craft. While this musical picture show isn't a classic, there is a soothing mood that is sure to satisfy fans of smooth jazz. However, audiences of a more muscular, action packed soul experience may prefer to wait for the DVD (or, in this instance, a friend's download).

Though the album is a best seller on CD Baby's Soul section, it's hard to classify Independent Film as soul music. As smooth jazz the project gleams. The musicians Dorian Holley chose to birth his cinematic visions are talented, experienced and they comfortably blend with one another on this ballad-heavy project. This is competently executed music of soft lullabies and gentle caresses. Judged by a smooth jazz standard, the project is aces.

As a soul project, Dorian Holley's voice and compositions are gentle and sensitive to the point of boredom. There is little heft to his rhythm sections and drums do little more here than keep time. His crooning is from the Tony Terry/Howard Hewett School of Vocals Dynamics, meaning there are few there. Vocally, he is always in the pocket, has a fine sense of pitch, and there will be ladies who will swoon at the sensitivities with which he endlessly threads these relationship yarns. The background harmonies are pleasant, but unimaginatively arranged for fans reared on 80s soul. Despite the Shaft strut of "Student of Love," the emotive wails in "Compassion" and a briefly compelling "Old School Picnic," too few tunes stand out as defining cinematic moments in this fourteen frame flick. The constancy of tone and mood on Independent Film doesn't make it a series of chapters in a film story, but a miniseries of movements in a single suite.

Dorian Holley's self-produced Independent Film works as a niche marketing product. The story it tells will speak to romantics and environmental peace seekers who use music to help them set their movie scene. For the rest of us, there is a multiplex hosting the latest big budget action flick with plenty of thrilling "ooos" and "ahhs" to keep us emotionally engaged ‘til the end credits roll (afterwards, we'll predict repeated DVD viewings just for the fun), much like we would with a good soul album. Mildly Recommended.

By L. Michael Gipson

 
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