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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » James Holden & the Animal Spirits: The Animal Spirits review – shimmering astral jazz


James Holden & the Animal Spirits: The Animal Spirits review – shimmering astral jazz

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Thu 2 Nov 2017 7:00 pm

(Border Community)

James Holden is an Oxford University maths graduate turned DJ, producer and synth wizard who made his name with a suitably cerebral variety of Aphex Twin-inspired rave music. In the last decade, he’s forsaken DJing to front a live band that mixes minimalism, astral jazz and the rhythmic textures of north African gnawa music. The results are often joyous. Spinning Dance overlays Alice Coltrane’s rattling percussion with shamanic drones and ecstatic, burbling flute improvisations, while The Beginning and End of the Earth takes us through a shimmering, space-age, never-ending chord cycle, as if ascending into heaven. Other tracks evoke the buzzsaw organs and fractally mutating time signatures of Steve Reich. If there’s a slight problem here, it’s with the rather lame tenor saxophonist. These soundscapes require a Pharoah Sanders-style voyager who can fly us into stratospheric realms, but unfortunately, Etienne Jaumet’s solos just splutter along the runway without ever achieving lift-off.

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