James Holden

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James Holden

b. 7 June 1979, Exeter, Devon, England. Holden learned several instruments as a child, his father teaching him the piano and violin. An intelligent scholar, he excelled in his studies, ultimately winning a place at Oxford University to study mathematics. It was around that time when he got into trance music played by DJs such as Sasha and Paul Oakenfold. By his late teens, Holden had already mastered how to use a PC, and with a little help from downloaded music software he produced the trance-inspired tune, ‘Horizons’. The track became an anthem around the world, making record labels eager to employ his remix techniques. Holden completed many remixes and several original tracks over the next two years, before receiving a massive vote of confidence when he was asked to co-produce Sasha’s debut album, Airdrawndagger.

Through the early years of the new millennium Holden stayed with the trance-inspired sound, but by 2004 his remixes had begun to take a tougher edge with some really original ‘click house’ productions. Notably his remix of Andre Kraml’s ‘Safari’, which featured on M.A.N.D.Y.’s Get Physical compilation. Holden had produced some compilations, most notably his At The Controls mix, which seamlessly fused many electronic genres. Finally, in 2006, Holden released his debut, The Idiots Are Winning, on his Border Community label. He gained widespread praise for the album, with the UK’s The Times newspaper stating the album contained ‘The best “Intelligent Dance Music” since Aphex Twin’. The album was more dancefloor friendly than Aphex Twin, however, with a twisting minimal electro/techno ambience that recalled the work of Scotland’s Slam.

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