Even though he often pronounces that prog is dead, James Holden is one of the driving forces behind modern progressive house music. He is a champion of the "pixie" sound that is popular with many a famous and not so famous DJ. With very few exceptions, James' productions and remixes are stellar works thatdemonstrate that there can still be beauty in house music. James has a strong musical education: he was classically trained in both violin and piano, and studied at Oxford University. These influences clearly show when you listen to his tracks; his ability to seamlessly meld lush chords and notes is nearly unparalleled.
Holden began his production works with a few productions and remixes for Silver Planet Recordings under the guise Pulse State. He caught fire with his next release on Silver Planet, Horizons, in early 1999. It was first hammered by Way Out West DJ Nick Warren, who played it for months off an exclusive CDR promo. Not long afterward, Pete Tong and Timo Maas also were caning it, and Tong made it an Essential New Tune on his Essential Selection radio show. It was licensed to Sony offshoot Incredible for an October 2000 release, with a Way Out West remix on the flip. The critically acclaimed track was wildly popular, and found itself in 93rd position on the Mixmag chart of the Top 100 tracks of all time.
His major label follow-up to Horizons, One For You, was unfortunately both a commercial and critical failure, failing to even chart with many of the leading tastemakers. James realized that he needed to get back to his roots, returning to Silver Planet to release the double A-side Solstice/I Have Put Out The Light. It received promo support from all of the big hitters, including Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren, and Pete Tong. After six months of anxious wait, the track was finally released in March 2002. It sold out of shops around the globe and was a return to form for Holden.
On a more personal note, James' tracks have found a special place, both in my ear, and in my heart. His beautiful and powerful works can almost make me cry at times; they stir up such a mix of feelings and memories that I sometimes have to sit down and collect myself. They can make you shake that ass and flash a bright smile. The raw emotion he can produce with the textures and sounds of his tracks is beyond belief.
Recommended works by Mr Holden (most should be available on your P2P app of choice):