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Boomkat Product Review:
After spreading his wings with The Animals, James Holden really stretches out with North African Gnawa musician Maalem Houssam Guinia in ‘Three live Takes’
Holden helms modular synth while Houssam Guinia provides mesmerising vocals and jangling lines of the three-string Guembri (or Sintar), underpinned by backing vocals and rasping Krakebs (large iron castanets) from Hamza Guinia, Mohamed Benzaid, Amine Bessi and Khalid Charbadou.
In all ‘Three Live Takes’ Holden traces and gilds Maalem Houssam Guinia’s Gnawa fire with washes of astral colour and whirligig chromatic spirals, firstly reservedly on ‘Youmala’, until they collectively reach a transcendent terminal velocity, before taking taking a more central role in the roiling swell of ‘Pass Through The Fire + Bouri Bouri Manandabo’ with its cascading climax, and then gelled in hypnotic, swingeing, and incendiary style synched with the raucous chorus of ‘Baba Hamouda’.