James Holden - At The Controls
The latest compilation from DJ and producer James Holden indulges his experimental side. This is a man who has remixed Britney Spears and been championed by Tiesto, but you wouldn't guess it from listening to what's on offer here. As the sleeve artwork suggests, At The Controls is frequently cold, disconnected and precise.
CD1 shifts from dreamy ambience to techno (although not until track six), keeping a fairly minimalist remit. Angel Blues is particularly haunting with its child-like vocal. Holden's own Lump sounds like a music box distorted through an acid trip.
CD2 begins with the Krautrock-ish Opening Titles, moving on to such gems as 1939 (check the sinking bass noise) and Aphex Twin's still extraordinary Xtal. There's also frosty Swiss electro from Water Lilly and even Scottish miserablism from Arab Strap's Malcolm Middleton.
At The Controls represents the dark, twisted underbelly of electronic music. Highly recommended for its obscure content, providing you don't mind the bleak palette.