Music » Album Review

CD review: Jocelyn Ellis' Life of a Hologram

Apple Seed Society; Release date: Nov. 18, 2013



If psychedelic soulstress Janelle Monaé, synthpop queen Robyn, glam rocker Adam Lambert and eclectic spoken word artist Saul Williams all came together to create a sonic lovechild, Jocelyn Ellis' debut album, Life Of A Hologram, would be the fruit of their sonic lovemaking. Ellis has coined her genre-bending and blending sound "Neon Folk" — a new music genre blending the urban, electronic and folk musical aesthetic into a single sound experience.

Back in 2009, when Ellis worked with the band The Alpha Theory, her sound was more clearly defined by a traditional soulful rock label. The group's EP release, In the Beginning, was a studio mix that exuded a Black Keys-meets-Alicia Keys feel. Now, with her debut solo effort, Life of a Hologram, Ellis experiments with incorporating sounds from guitars, strings, cows, dolphins and more. Her vocals jump from soul to glam-rock to pop at the switch of a track.

Life Of A Hologram is not only Ellis' debut album, it is also a return on investment to the many stakeholders who invested a total of $3,042 through her Indiegogo fundraising campaign. The concept album is a vivid, musical, sci-fi tale set in 4013 where a dictator known as "The Overseer" controls free will and free expression through a system of human-like holograms and the rationing of Earth's dwindling water and oxygen supply.

The sonic tale unfolds beautifully thanks to Ellis' tracklist arrangement and the album's polished mixdowns done by Charlotte's Sioux Sioux Studio and Addor Music Group. Stand-out songs on the album include the lead single with the psychedelic soul flair "System Distortion," the anti-establishment slowed down drum & bass anthem "Glitch Mobb," the mentally invasive Tribal House track "You Make Me Sick," the stripped down love ballad "Dharma" and the inspirational synth heavy song "Broken Stars."

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