Album Review: James Holden / ‘The Inheritors’ (Border Community)

James Holden The Inheritors

★★★★☆

Engineering with a fine tooth comb +/- just going with the flow = the difference between James Holden’s genius and abstract randomising. Intensely challenging and testing your survival instincts, getting the dancefloor moving may pose a problem in places as eyes and ears are likely to become transfixed by the spectacle rather than the end product of making logic out of the illogical, proving that the Idiots didn’t win after all, and having the scientific compete with ground level complexity.

Built with a coarse bustle that ranks overlaps over precision to the millimetre, the rawness of the startling “Lump” is reconfigured on the toying electro phase “Renata”, sharpening the knife edge with a stadium-sized churn of synaesthesia that with the knuckle-whitening title track, shares the nearest vibe of a sensory takeover. Holden’s self-constructed machinery lays out a set of logically organised triggers to feed snap decisions/intuition as to whether to go left or right. Constructed so light seeps through the gaps in blocky brickworks, it’s a hybrid of futurism using primeval trappings to both uplift with a near prog-rock momentum and drudge as a labouring, tools-downing dirge.

Anointing himself king of the wild frontier on the clan convoy “The Caterpillar’s Intervention,” of unusually easygoing, accessible analogue, Holden looks at the sky being the limit with highs from which there must be a comedown (“Blackpool Late Eighties” decorating an epic with fated consequences), the denseness grounding you as it scrabbles to find beauty in chaos.

File under: Boards of Canada, Nathan Fake, Amon Tobin

Matt Oliver