It doesn’t take long to understand when a performer is trying too hard to fit in a certain place and his music simply follows a proven script. That is not the case of today’s Chosen Waves selection. One of the things I appreciate about guys like James Holden is they clearly play whatever they like rather than concentrating on making something that fits into a genre. Techno, shades of West Coast weirdness, echoes of geometrically composed soundscapes that border on raga through african rhythms with a zest of Canterbury rock: James managed to elbow his way to worldwide recognition through DJing, producing and the sonic arsenal of his Border Community label, founded in 2003. In 2014 he curated Sonic City Live, in Belgium, where, among the other things, he performed what you’re looking at today.
With Tom Page on drums and Etienne Jaumet on sax, we get a fascinating perspective on playing modular synths live, combining them with computers and performing alongside other musicians. James Holden is using a Max for Live patch he created to automatically shape the timing of the performance by having it follow the drummer’s groove. And you can definitely hear it. Why should a human being stick to a quantised grid?