If you've only heard of James Holden because your mate said he was' pretty damn cool' then don't buy this album. this is along way from middle of the road electronic music. In fact its quite far from any sort of music.
Minimal house is a hugely popular genre in dance music at the moment but James Holden continues to have a very distinctive sound. The instantly recognisable plastic synths and dusty drums, which appear frequently in `Drowning in a Sea of Remixes' are apparent in a couple of the tracks. That said, I don't think there's any track on there with the big room appeal of the Holden remix of `The Sky Was Pink' by Nathan Fake, but don't take that as criticism. I'm sure the `dubbier', more subdued structure is intentional
To the slightly older Holden fan:
You'll be disappointed if you want to hear more of the `Holden and Thompson - Come to Me' or 'Horizons' sounds on here, there's not a lot of that. 'The idiots are winning' is much closer to James's Nathan Fake remixing era. But to be honest there isn't really a lot of that either.
The track that is much commented on below is 'intentionally left blank'. which is about one and a bit minutes of complete silence. I really hope this was done as a joke and not for artistic reasons because electronic music has been devoid of that sort of pretentiousness for a quite a while now and I don't particularly want that sort of thing to re-emerge.
In conclusion, I give this album three out of five because there are 2 or 3 decent tracks on there and I'm not a devout minimal fan. I think proper minimal fans could well appreciate more of it than I did. There has been some criticism of there not being enough stand out tracks and too much filler. But personally this is exactly what I expected to hear when I bought it so I'm still very much a Holden Fan. Even if he has gone a little bit turner prize on this occasion.
I was already a Holden fan before I bought this. I loved Nothing and Come to me, The two tracks holden created together with Julie Thompson... I didn't really like Horizon, solstice and break in the cloud all that much but then again I am not really into trance.
I was in for quite a surprise! This, this is different. Not only when compared to his previous work but in general. I wouldn't even really know what genre to call this and i guess that's not really important. Most people seem to label this as minimal but somehow that feels really out of place for me. I mean Villalobos is minimal and i really don't like that stuff. This is very layered and textured. I have been coming back to this album for almost 5 years now and I can not get enough of it. Each individual sound and note seems to have been tweaked to make it hit the magic spot. You know the spot where your brain goes liquid. I can't even pick my favorite track. They are all so different and mind bogglingly fresh.
No-one can be told what Holden sounds like, you have to experience it for yourself.
A bit of warning. I would say that out of my group of friends 33% LOVES it and the rest HATES it. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground and I guess it's not for everyone. I don't know if this tells you anything but I am a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails, Velvet Underground, Vitalic, Sigur Ros and Trentemoller. I would assume that if you like any of these bands there is a good chance that you ll find something to love here too. In fact in my head this sounds like Holden found a way to let all these artists play at the same time and using his special magic he somehow makes it work.
Another image that always pops into my head is a dieing machine crying for help and Holden desperately trying to keep it alive. Life is always more beautiful on the edge of death.
This is my first ever Amazon review, and it's just to offer a different opinion to that shown below, and also give this album an average rating closer to what it deserves.
James Holden has stated that this isn't his debut album (that's coming later in 2007) but a collection of tracks he's been working on - as such there are one or two "experimental releases", but then who can't say that about some of Aphex Twin's greatest works? Listen to 10101 and Idiot and you can't fail to be blown away.
Border Community 'is about dance music that doesnt fit in a category' and as such I think it's unfair to make comments about the prog/trance scene, or any 'scene' for that matter when speaking about this EP (it's not really a long player to be honest). That said, I can definitely understand some people's reactions to it.. Its experimental nature means that it isn't easy to listen to. Fans of Aphex Twin and Plastikman will probably like this, particularly if you liked Hawtin's 'Decks Fx and 909'. There is some great use of percussion and some almost analogue-sounding 303 style tweaks, but it's a bit short, so 4 stars.
Ive been a fan of James Holden since I heard `Horizons` on GC: Global Sound System and Then `Solstice` and `One For You` all amazing intelligent tracks with a unique and distiguishing sound that could only be James Holden.
I know the trance/prog scene has since changed following on from these releases but I cant help but feel Ive been a bit cheated with this album having looked forward to it for so long.
Dont get me wrong Holdens new `minimalist` style is growing on me but I really have had to persivere with it, which can be quite testing having paid x amount for his new album only to find that one of the tracks is left blank!
In my opinion JH has gone too minimal on this album and thereforte it seems to lack the imagination and the magic he produced on his previous material.
Despite what I think is a quite disapointing debut album I will continue to listen to James Holden because his music has inspired me for many years.