James Holden (UK)

Live set: Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities

ph. Laura Lewis


James Alexander Goodale Holden (born June 7, 1979) is a British electronic music artist, producer and DJ. He studied mathematics at Oxford University. He began his career in 1999 at the age of 19 and quickly gained wide recognition with the release of the single “Horizons,” which he created with the freeware software Buzz. In the following years Holden released numerous singles and remixes on various labels including Lost Language, Perfecto Recordings and Positiva Recordings. He was a member of Mainline (along with Duncan Ellis and Hywel Dunn-Davies) and worked with singer Julie Thompson as Holden & Thompson. His remixes during this period include artists such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Depeche Mode, New Order, Nathan Fake and Kieran Hebden, and Steve Reid. In April 2006, his album James Holden At The Controls was Mixmag’s “Album of the Month.” His own label Border Community was founded in 2003, and with Holden’s single “A Break in the Clouds,” it launched the careers of many young artists, including Nathan Fake, Fairmont, Luke Abbott and The MFA. In 2006, Border Community released The Idiots are Winning. This album of “loose, twisted and evocative electronic music” was described by the Guardian as “the most striking debut in electronic music since Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children.” In 2013, Holden released his second album The Inheritors, a “revealing and intriguing album of crisp pastoral beauty and hard rhythmic restraint.” After the album’s release, Thom Yorke invited him to support his band Atoms For Peace on tour in the United States. At these shows Holden performed on a modular synthesizer along with drummer Tom Page (of the experimental electronic duo Rocketnumbernine and The Memory Band). This transition from DJ sets to live performance was instrumental in Holden’s career. His third album, The Animal Spirits, has him leading a five-piece band with live drums, saxophone, other horns, and North African instruments. Thus Holden has created a “spiritual jazz band that plays folk/ trance music” while keeping his “synth always strident … front and center.” The music was recorded live, without editing or overdubbing, and was influenced in both sound and concept by the works of Don Cherry, Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. Holden’s latest work is Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities, which has received much critical acclaim.