James Holden, D R O H N E x VEED, WYWH: The Kazimier, Liverpool

James-Holden-Kazimier-Michelle-Roberts (5)

James Holden

‘Kosmische’ druid James Holden transfixed the Kazimier with a transportative trip through pagan sorcery and modular synthesisers, Getintothis’ Phil Morris was left mesmerised by a bold and oscillating journey.

James Holden’s 2014 release The Inheritors was more than a progressive experiment in modular sound waves. Rooted in the symbolism and mood of paganism, its material provides the sonic conditions to reconnect with our ancestors, and plots a spiritual path to the traditions of yore.
The Kazimier was a fitting temple for Holden’s psychedelic sorcery. The walls of its lower tier marked our ritualistic circle. Set opener Rannoch Dawn consecrates the ensuing worship with open-fifth drones that are highly evocative of the throat delivered folk songs of Tuva. Meanwhile, an ominously situated A.V. animation displays the primal engravings of The Inheritors artwork.
Hunched over a boxy Doepfer synthesiser, Holden cuts an eccentric figure, especially through the sympathetic haze of manufactured fog. His crooked posture and oversized tunic add to the whimsy of this techno shaman. Holden’s chaotic live analog set up is complimented by Rocknumbernine drummer Tom Page; who serves to augment the subtle builds and crescendos present in tracks like Renata and The Caterpillar’s Intervention.
Stylistically, James Holden is difficult to pigeon-hole.  You could equate his arpeggiated trance with the avante-modulation of Tangerine Dream or even the minimal contemporary-composition of Klaus Schulze and Steve Reich.
Equally, after a live experience you could argue his sound is derivative of Detroit’s techno legacy or perhaps New Beat house music, like the modern man’s KLF. Imagine a fragment of Terry Riley’s A Rainbow of Curved Air; looped on the off beat, and syncopated through a complex chain of vintage effects.
Holden’s successful blend of manipulated playback and live instrumentation proved to be a fully rendered realisation of the support acts’ intentions.
D R O H N E x VEED bonded high-octane programmed beats with sparse use of reverb-drenched guitar. Their highly professional set was driven by the impressively dextrous Dan Ellis, who button mashed his sequencer through an eclectic array of contemporary styles; trap metal, two-step and euphoric hardcore.
Their unusually cinematic set peaked on emotional grime banger XE2 by MssingNo. Previously, WYWH had eased us into the evening with their interminable house loops and unprecedented minimalism.


Photos by Getintothis’ Michelle Roberts