Boomkat Product Review:
Holden outdoes himself on this latest psychedelic voyage, combining his latter-day kosmische flirtations with his breakout shoegaze-trance experiments. At its best, it sounds like Cluster doing 808 State, or Göttsching doing Shpongle.
James Holden has had a wild ride of it. As a teen he was fascinated by the pirate radio stations he'd just about be able to tune into from his dull West Midlands village, and before he'd hit 20 he was already producing major label dance music and touring relentlessly. In recent years, Holden has attempted to distance himself from the dancefloor energy he cut his teeth on, but 'Imagine this...' reconciles his two decade career, using the lysergic synth experimentation of his more recent material to spruce up his beloved early progressive trance patterns.
The best example of this is 'Trust Your Feet', a track that's blessed with the fluttering, chorus-heavy texture of Cluster's 'Zuckerzeit' era but launches into triumphant, euphoric organ rave so fluidly you barely notice it happening. Holden's clearly a keen listener as well as a confident engineer, so while the blend might seem clunky on paper (despite trance's established roots in German electronic music) Holden provides the authenticity it needs in order to work.
Elsewhere 'In the End You'll Know' is a cinematic conglomeration of Klaus Schulze and pacy, progressive electro, and 'The Answer is Yes' sounds like Popul Vuh after a weekend at a psy trance festival. Even just as a collection of fetishistic synth demos, they're so well produced that the album would be worth a peep for that alone, but Holden not only knows his history but is able to create material that's just inarguably joyful. We'll take it.