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'Broadcast One' - Dandelion Radio's 1st compilation album

22 hours this month including two sessions and a special tribute to CAN

Artist Info

James Holden

James Holden
Image from Discogs
Powered by Audioscrobbler™James Holden is an electronic musician and tinkerer 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. He lives in London with his partner (in life and business) Gemma, and their rescue
Staffy Heidi.

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 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.

But it was seven years later with the pagan thud of his epic landmark second album The
Inheritors in 2013 that his path would take a bold left turn, prompting him to eventually
hang up his DJ headphones and take a portable incarnation of his modular synth rig out
on the road instead, accompanied by the live drums of Tom Page (Rocketnumbernine,
Neneh Cherry) and the occasional saxophone flourish from France’s Etienne Jaumet
(Zombie Zombie, The Caterpillar’s Intervention). By the time of the recording sessions of
his third artist album The Animal Spirits in 2016 Holden had grown his band to six,
drafting in extra brass and percussion to assemble his own fantasy spiritual jazz
ensemble (also to be known as The Animal Spirits) that would perform his new set of
synth-led folk-trance standards, recorded all in one room in a series of live takes, no
overdubs, no edits, under the direction of emergent band leader Holden. Further side
project collaborations with Swiss accordion player Mario Batkovic, Polish clarinettist
Waclaw Zimpel, Moroccan gnawa masters Maalem Houssam Guinia and his late father
Maalem Mahmoud Guinia, and tabla player Camilo Tirado have continued to keep live
collaborative performance firmly at the forefront of Holden’s practice.

Fast forward to 2023, and although the studio-assembled audio collage of his new
generically-unconstrained solo album of rave music for a parallel universe Imagine This
Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities undoubtedly stands somewhat in
contrast to the expanded band and live take dogma of its jazz adjacent predecessor, it
also seems to represent a coming-to-terms with Holden’s own musical past, with subtle
nods and callbacks to notable moments in this twenty year long sonic history alongside
the odd guest contribution from wider members of the Animal Spirits live family. The
undulating dancefloor melancholy of In The End You’ll Know and the spiralling kinetic
pixie arpeggios and hazy vocals of Trust Your Feet and Continuous Revolution awaken
the distant memory of his erstwhile DJ career, whilst the driving synth and drum, pagan
thud, synthesized strings and woozy shimmering nostalgia of his landmark Inheritors era
remains omnipresent (Continuous Revolution, Worlds Collide Mountains Form, The
Answer Is Yes, Infinite Fadeout), albeit with a somewhat lighter and brighter sheen.
“For a while in the mid 2010s I couldn't hear dance music anymore, a single kick drum
had me lunging for the skip button, but I've found my way back to that — reclaiming the
bits I liked (the hypnotism, the utopianism, the wide ranging cross cultural freedom) and
leaving behind what I don't need,” he explains. “I wanted this to be my most open
record, uncynical, naive, unguarded, the record teenage me wanted to make. It’s like a
dream of rave, a fantasy about a transformative music culture that would make the
world better.” And as if to prove he means business, after a ten year abstinence Holden
has recently dipped his toe back into the remixing culture where he built his name, with
XAM Duo (Sonic Cathedral), GoGo Penguin (Blue Note) and Lost Souls of Saturn
(R&S) the latest blessed recipients of a Holden rework.

With a whole new raft of alternative rave anthems ready to unleash on the world, Holden
(plus selected guest performers) are currently readying themselves to take his
improvisation-ready bespoke live set-up back out on the road, which combines his own
self-designed and 3D printed computer and modular synth case with a carefully chosen
selection of synth modules and his own self-coded digital plug ins. Holden is a long-time
advocate of Cycling74's Max/MSP programming language, and most recently he has
used it to build an ambitious modular sequencing and synthesis environment to facilitate
his live performances, which he also (in keeping with his collectivist impulses) plans to
make available to other budding music makers via his website.

Further reading:
- James Holden talks to John Doran for The Quietus:
Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
Artist biography from last.fm

Upcoming gigs:

Fri 10 May 2024

James Holden: Villa Sparina, Gavi, Italy

Concerts by BandsInTown

Fri 17 May 2024

James Holden: Claudio Mariotto, Tortona, Italy

Concerts by BandsInTown

Sat 18 May 2024

James Holden: Vigneti Repetto, Sarezzano, Italy

Concerts by BandsInTown

Wed 12 Jun 2024

James Holden: Forum Karlín, Karlín, Czechia

Concerts by BandsInTown

Fri 5 Jul 2024

James Holden: Wilde Weide, Kraggenburg, Netherlands

Concerts by BandsInTown

Some other places to look for information: