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Wednesday 22 March 2023

Common Land

This was supposed to publish this morning as usual but I messed up the post settings so it's late- but better late than never.

This track came out last month but I only got around to listening to it recently. It's fair to say that it is so far up my street it is practically delivering itself through my letterbox. James Holden is a DJ and producer from Leicestershire (Market Bosworth to be exact, the town close to the site of the Battle of Bosworth that conclusively ended the 15th century Wars of the Roses). He hit the big time at the turn of the millennium with the trance single Horizons and then again with his legendary 2004 remix of The Sky Was Pink by Nathan Fake. He got tired of the life of the superstar DJ, and ten years ago headed back to the smaller stages and fields and has now returned to his roots, to the sounds of the early 90s and the records that first made an impression on him- The KLF, Orbital, Future Sound Of London, 808 State and pirate radio stations picked up through long wave radio. 

James has collected sounds from the English countryside, field recordings of birdsong, and they adorn the new single, Common Land. It opens with the very early 90s sounding synths and then drums kick in, the spirit of 808 Sate and FSOL conjured up for the 2020s. There is distorted, high pitched birdsong, repeating synth notes and then a sax part (by Christopher Duffin, a member of Xam Duo who I posted not too long ago). The more natural sounding birdsong chirrups and the sax wails, the euphoric synth notes repeat and eventually the drums come to a halt for a lovely rave ending, ready to be mixed into whatever is cued up to follow. 

Common Land references the Right To Roam protests of the 1930s, the Criminal Justice Bill protests of the mid- 90s and more recent protests about the use of land and its ownership such as the ban on camping in Dorset. He sees dance music has still having an anti- establishment power, that it can still be a force for good, bringing people together in a way which as he says, 'doesn't have to be a capitalist- entertainment- complex'. The forthcoming album, if all this wasn't enough, is called This Is A High- Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to hearing it. 


Tom W said...

God I had a terrible camping holiday in Market Bosworth once. Though I accept it's not James's fault.

Swiss Adam said...


thewalker said...

Not sure why, but I did need a nudge to dip into Holden's new LP. You give good nudges.