Ever since Sander van Dijck broke into the electronic scene under the name San Holo back in 2015, the Dutch producer has been blessing his listeners with beautiful soundscapes and euphoric melodies. From touring with Porter Robinson & Madeon on the Shelter tour to Album1, his Stay Vibrant and Cosmo EPs San Holo’s sound can best be described as nostalgic and timeless. With a strong background in guitar and piano, the Netherlands producer effortlessly combines indie rock and electronic elements, creating a cascade of emotions and bliss interpreted through sound. On June 4th San Holo finally released his second studio album, ” bb u ok?, further pushing his nostalgic style into the limelight.
With bb u ok? San Holo once again shows why he is not a typical EDM artist. While there is nothing wrong with festival anthems and party music San Holo turns to self-expression, honesty, and art. bb u ok? is a daring, honest dive into the life of San Holo as he proclaims it as his most personal project yet.
“It just feels like whichever words I chose, it never really comes close to the essence of that experience. I think that’s where music comes into play. Musically I can express so much more emotional depth. I hope that when people hear these songs, they just feel it’s a very personal thing for me. Yet, I want people to be able to relate to it in their own way.” San told Billboard.
While the story is personal to San Holo himself, listeners can find similarities and relate to his stories of love, heartbreak, and the journey of finding oneself. It is always the most personal expression that seems to relate to people the most.
bb u ok? is a story of compassion and emotion.
At first glance at the tracklist, I couldn’t help but notice that each song title resembled a potential line in a text message to a lost loved one. From the acronym in the album title bb, u ok? to tracks like “I am thinking of you” or “IT HURTS!” it seems as if San Holo uses texts from actual experiences to tell his story. While it is not confirmed and just a hunch, it makes perfect sense as San Holo tells raw emotional stories that really hit deep into the human psyche. San touches on all subjects from being lonely, losing love, missing old memories, and embracing change. While San touches on many different emotions, it’s clear that there is a constant underlining meaning tying every song together, which is the fact that nothing is permanent. Good times will come and go, bad times will pass, and life will move on. Everything is fleeting, yet there is beauty in the fast pace of life.
San Holo brilliantly blends electronic production and live instrumentation.
San Holo is one of the most creative artists in dance music, and he proves this once again on bb u ok? His lushes guitar riffs integrated with his euphoric production skills create an album with no clear genre as San Holo walks the thin line of electronic music and indie rock. He harmonically fuses the two genres in a way that creates an experience of nostalgic bliss. The Netherland producer uses the power of sound to capture the essence of his lyrical content. His beautiful soundscapes and celestial beats provide an emotional depth along with his lyrics that cannot be captured by words alone.
San Holo’s features are just as personal as the stories told on bb u ok?
It is evident that San Holo thought hard about the artists he would team up with on his sophomore LP. Each artist featured on the album has a history working with San, such as Bipolar Sunshine, or has been a crucial part of San Holo’s musical upbringing from American Football to Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo. Not your typical features on an EDM album, but San Holo’s choices just show how personal and unique this album actually is.
As a huge fan of San Holo, I’ve been waiting patiently all year for bb u ok? to be finally be released. From the moment San Holo announced the project to the album getting pushed back by two weeks, I’m happy to say it was worth the wait. While many singles were released, the album still sounds new and refreshing, and San Holo exceeded all expectations. His creativity, experimentation, and his vibrant outlook on life shines through each production. bb u ok? is a beautiful heartfelt story on what it means to be human and feel alive through emotion.