Self-described techno shaman James Holden has emerged as a leading force in the field of exploratory, unbound electronic music.
Holden burst onto the UK scene in 1999 with the exuberant teenage trance hit, “Horizons”, produced on a basic home computer setup while studying for a degree in Maths at Oxford University. “Horizons” was followed by a spate of singles and remixes that cut closer to popular music than the experimental or avant-garde.
Holden began making more substantive inroads into electronic music with the launch of his Border Community label in 2003, inaugurated by his own "A Break In The Clouds". Originally founded as a boundary-free outlet for his own music, as well as the production careers of friends, the label has since established itself as a respected and fecund platform for young electronic music talent, with a small but faithful army of free-spirited genre benders bringing new ideas to the European scene, among them Nathan Fake, Luke Abbott, and Fairmont.
In 2006, Holden debuted his first album, The Idiots Are Winning, followed by a 2010 mix CD for!K7 Records’ acclaimed DJ Kicks series. However, it was 2013’s The Inheritors that firmly established Holden as an important and inspired contemporary producer. Named after the novel by Nobel prize winning author William Golding, The Inheritors is a sprawling, occasionally cacophonous divination of hidden, primordial, and wild places counterposed against a techno schema and suggesting the influences of ceilidh music and krautrock, psychedelia and pentatonic folk scales, pastoral minimalism and pagan rituals. Both the album and its unorthodox production methods – recorded in single takes on an analogue modular system with Holden’s own programs – demonstrated the producer’s aversion to closed, mechanized systems and preference for experimentation. The Inheritors was named 2013’s Album of the Year by Resident Advisor, among numerous other critical honours.
Holden plays live for his appearance at CTM 2014.