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Baker's Dozen

Magical Experiences: James Holden's Favourite Albums
Rory Gibb , June 5th, 2014 15:08

Following last year's feral The Inheritors album, Border Community label head James Holden is about to take his newly developed live show on tour, including to Field Day and Sonar Barcelona. Rory Gibb catches up with him to discuss thirteen favourite and formative albums, improvisation and atheist spirituality


Mogwai - Ten Rapid

It was introduced to me by Gemma when I met her when I first went to university. We'd lie around listening to one of my records and then one of hers, and talking about it. I'd been to Scotland a lot, and it felt like particularly Ten Rapid and Young Team and the 'Xmas Steps' record around the same time [EP+6] did feel Scottish; it was really from there, it had a sense of place. For me, listening to those two albums really conjures up what it feels like to be in Scotland. I hope that's not reaching too much!

It's kind of a toss-up between this and Arab Strap's first album [The Week Never Starts Round Here]. That had that sense of intimacy and identity. Also, the first time I heard 'The Clearing' in the middle of all the dreary shit on the Evening Session in the 90s, like with Suicide, that was just like 'Fuck, how have they done that, what is it?' It was so jarring, the sound of it, compared to all this overcooked, fake Britpop that was otherwise around at that point. I didn't know about Mogwai until Gemma introduced me, but the connection from Arab Strap into that - that whole little era of a counterculture was really fertile for great music. Mogwai, to someone approaching their twenties, were such a perfect band: they had something to say, their music was punk rock at that point, they wanted it to be that, and they started fights and were political and cared about stuff. That was all okay at that point - it sounds all naive and 90s now. "Weren't they all just interested in making money and getting sponsored by BlackBerry?" [laughs] They struck a chord definitely, in personal development as well as musical.

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