DASHING DEBUTS: Bill Holt – Dreamies (1974)

Some albums find themselves to be easily accessible on first listen, while others tend to take awhile to grow on you. Unsurprisingly, the grower albums tend to be more enjoyable in the long run, in my case anyways. Bill Holt released Dreamies in 1974, and the album continues to echo in influences throughout music. Holt was living the essential American dream in the 1960s and 1970s with wife, kids, and a successful job. He started to become extremely fascinated in experimental songwriters such as Bob Dylan and John Cage, who were both revelations at the time (and still are). Holt felt a special need to create music as an artistic vision as he gathered an Ovation acousic guitar, a Moog Sonic Six Synth, and a Teac four track. He secluded himself to his basement, day and night, creating the album that is now known as Dreamies. The album cover above is quite perfect, as Holt’s songs involve your mind as much as your ears, creating a unique sound you have never heard before.

The album consists of two 26 minute tracks: ‘Program Ten’ and ‘Program Eleven’, though the new and excellent remastered version, released this year, split the album up into thirteen tracks. The remastering is done very well and the separation of both songs just makes it easier to navigate the epic. Highly influenced by The Beatles’ ‘Revolution 9’, Holt combines lush acoustic melodies with ambience and audio clips from the earlier years as America was rapidly changing. From the Kennedies to the latest fashion trends, Holt was interested in how America was progressing and he wanted to chronicle it in sound. Mojo Magazine ranked the album #37 on their 2005 list of ‘Top 50 Most Out-There Albums of All Time. It was a bit difficult choosing the audio clips to show you, as the album truly flows as one, but hopefully this will give you a taste. As you may have noticed, ‘Program Ten’ has more vocals and acoustic guitar (though more audio clips), ‘Program Eleven’ is definitely the most chilling and unique out of the two.


Bill Holt – Program Ten, Part One



Bill Holt – Program Ten, Part Five



Bill Holt – Program Eleven, Part Two



Bill Holt – Program Eleven, Part Seven




Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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  1. such a wonderful album.. just listened to it in north wales, on mushrooms! seeing the mountains .. and dramatic skies.. made it even more special.. i do think everyone should own this record 🙂

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