British techno sorcerer and psychedelic shaman James Holden is a man of many talents: zeitgeist-defining label boss of the Border Community imprint, trend-setting producer, hugely in-demand monster remixer. He who has worn many hats across his twenty year musical career: producer, remixer, DJ, record label boss, synth maestro, band leader, mix engineer, software developer and all round jack of all vaguely musical trades. Charting a haphazard course somewhere between unashamed dilettante and virtuosic polymath, Holden is an artist who seems to find it difficult to settle, no sooner finding himself momentarily aligned with one musical milieu (trance, progressive house, minimal techno, IDM, synth, jazz…) before his latest set of explorations lead him on to pastures new. Holden was just nineteen years old and not quite finished university when he fell into a professional career in the more commercialised end of dance music, when an early 12” (Horizons) was picked up by a Sony Music-backed imprint in the trance glory days of 1999. A career as an international DJ and remixer to the stars (from Madonna and Britney to Radiohead, New Order and Depeche Mode) opened up before him, aided and abetted by his own proudly DIY Border Community imprint and a certain unstoppable remix of label protege (and kelburn alumni) Nathan Fake’s The Sky Was Pink, a bonafide dance anthem which in various corners of electronic music came to define the sound of the mid-noughties. In 2006 he gently flexed his album muscles with the prescient The Idiots Are Winning, an EP of idiosyncratic dancefloor bangers and DJ tools which somehow swelled to album proportions and cemented Holden’s status as a vibrant new force in electronic music.
Fast forward through a glittering career and undoubted international status of God-like genius attained, to 2023, and James’ latest album entitled “Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities”. The album is the first since 2017’s The Animal Spirits (“Dramatic, colourful and Holden’s fullest-sounding work yet” 9/10 Loud And Quiet). Along with the announcement he has also shared lead single ‘Contains Multitudes’, an almost ten minute long joyful synth and tabla jamboree that breaks down seamlessly around the midway mark into bold piano flourishes and trembling violin, setting out the stall and yet barely scratching the surface of Holden’s latest journey. Standing in contrast to the expanded band and live take recordings of its predecessor, Holden’s fourth solo artist album is more of a continuous sound collage, artfully juxtaposing audio worlds in his own inimitable manner. But where his first wave forebears pilfered freely from the history of recorded music to date, Holden’s sample sources are custom generated, drawn from recordings of his own performances on the modular synth, keyboard, organ and piano plus the lesser explored drones of his childhood violin, cut-up bass guitar, overblown recorder, all manner of percussive trinkets and the serendipity of the odd field recording, as well as guest contributions from various members of the wider Animal Spirits live family: long-time touring companion drummer Tom Page, tabla-championing percussionist Camilo Tirado, multi-instrumentalist for hire Marcus Hamblett (here, on double bass and guitar solos) and saxophonist Christopher Duffin.
We welomce James Holden to Kelburn to perform a live set based around this latest alum, featuring live percucussion saxaphone from the above-mentioned combo. It’s truly set to be a watershed moment for our Landing Stage as we seek to cement it’s position as the most exciting electronic stage in Scotland. Unmissable!