James Holden was a teenage trance producer who had a huge club hit, Horizons, while studying maths at Oxford. He went on to remix Madonna and Britney Spears but now, at 26, he has escaped the trappings and sub-genres of dance music to define his own sound. It's artfully constructed and highly detailed, as opener Lump attests, blooming from minimalist techno into a disorientating, disconcerting trip that might leave you feeling rather pie-eyed by the end of its six minutes. During 10101, Holden sounds barely in control of his circuitry as a simple chiming melody is interrupted by all manner of clicks and fuzz. Corduroy is equally enhanting, taking unexpected twists and turns as it unfurls. The Idiots Are Winning is beautifully skewed and steeped in atmosphere - the most astonishing debut in electronic music since Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children.
CD: Holden, The Idiots Are Winning
John Burgess writes dance music reviews for the Guardian most Fridays, founded Jockey Slut magazine (RIP) and is now associate editor of Dummy. He also promotes the long running techno night Bugged Out and power ballads night Erection Section (one club is busier than the other).