James Holden has announced his new album, entitled Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities, to be released on 31 March via Border Community. 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 The Animal Spirits, 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.
Holden is an artist who has traditionally found it difficult to settle, no sooner finding himself momentarily aligned with one musical milieu before he is off onto the next thing. But Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities also seems to represent a coming-to-terms with his own musical past, with subtle nods and callbacks to notable moments in Holden’s sonic history: undulating dancefloor melancholy, spiralling kinetic pixie arpeggios and hazy vocals awaken the distant memory of his erstwhile career as an international DJ and remixer to the stars, whilst the driving synth and drum, pagan thud, synthesised strings and woozy shimmering nostalgia of his landmark The Inheritors era (Resident Advisor ‘Album of the Year’) remains omnipresent, albeit with a somewhat lighter and brighter sheen.