The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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


Alice Coltrane - A Monastic Trio

It's a good one, isn't it? [laughs] Some records mean something to you just because of the first time you listen to it being really nice. It's so mundane - we lay in bed, drunk wine, smoked weed and listened to this, one summer afternoon. It was just perfect. And that's it; I've been in love with Alice, and this, ever since. It's almost all I've got to say about it.

It connects to a lot of the other music I like, and the whole spiritual jazz world has really influenced what I think live music is. But the Alice Coltrane record I just enjoy. It's not a work record. It's not something that I'm poring over the structure of - it's effortless, or unburdened, like Debussy. It's not Ornette Coleman or something, it's not trying to have a fight with you [laughs]. It's just pleasant. That might be the most 'Ah, that is just a pleasant record' in the whole list.

I don't know what it is about Alice Coltrane's music... I don't think it's something I could do, perhaps: it's a level of playing that I'll never be able to touch, on instruments that I can half-play - the piano, I mean. I guess that's a part of it. And just her manner, and the way it's presented, and particularly that record, it's so complete and whole.