A Cambodian Spring (Original Soundtrack)

A Cambodian Spring (Original Soundtrack)

Compared to the freeform psychedelic churn of James Holden & the Animal Spirits’ eponymous 2017 album, or Three Live Takes, Holden’s 2018 collaborative EP with Moroccan Gnawa musician Maâlem Houssam Guinia, the British producer/DJ's soundtrack debut is remarkably restrained, a contemplative immersion in slowly cycling analogue synths. Familiarity with the companion 2017 documentary about Southeast Asian political upheavals isn't necessary to connect to the score’s cool pads and pulsing arpeggios: Stripping away all the techno impulses and textural chaos, the score zeroes in on the heady ambient tonalities underpinning all of Holden’s work. It makes for a remarkable chance to hear one of avant dance music’s greatest talents unplugged—from his drum machine, at least.

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