The 10 best trance tracks, according to James Holden

The 10 best trance tracks, according to James Holden

The electronic artist shares his favourite mind-altering tracks that will literally lull the listener into a trance - none of that glow stick-waving stuff.

Border Community boss James Holden is set to take part in an audio-visual performance lecture called Consciousness with Marcus du Sautoy at London’s Barbican on 2nd March. Forming part of the “Wonder: Art & Science on the Brain” series at the London venue, James’ contribution will come in the form of a neuroscientific-influenced soundtrack that literally attempts to alter the consciousness of its audience. As a taster, he’s chosen his 10 favourite trance-inducing tracks for Dummy; have a listen and see how you feel.

James: “Of course I mean trance: the state of mind, not the sadly misnamed genre. Music like this stretches back beyond the start of history and will be around until a time when glow sticks and middle-aged Dutch men pulling poses are long forgotten. Modern neuroscience has shown that this stuff does indeed have magical effects on the brain and our state of consciousness – if we let it.”

  1. Colin Stetson – The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man
    James: “I love the LP this is from (New History Warfare Vol 2 – Judges) – the whole thing manages to be totally fluid and ever-changing but also pure transcendental mantric power.”
  2. Terry Riley : In C
    James: “Obvious choice, but the original minimalist. Fun fact: the 16th note piano that acts as a metronome was Steve Reich’s idea.”
  3. Plastikman – Cor Ten
    James: “Before he became a sushi connoisseur, Richie Hawtin made a few classic trance albums. ‘Consumed’ totally freaked me out the first time I heard it, and not in a good way, but approached with caution it is a wonderful LP.”
  4. Craig Leon – Donkeys Bearing Cups
    James: “Every Craig Leon track has this sort of flangey/short delay sound all over it. But who cares: if you’ve found the ultimate stoner noise, why not re-use it?”
  5. Mogwai – Mogwai Fear Satan (Surgeon remix)
    James: “Nothing changes AND everything is changing. Listen while watching this video with the sound muted.”
  6. Harmonia – Watussi
    James: “More static/not static music. This makes me want to dance. Dancing counts as participation: those involved in the music are neurologically affected more strongly than the stationary listener.”
  7. Steve Reich – Music for 18 musicians
    James: “The tempo and pulse of this coincide neatly with alpha-frequency brainwaves – leading to a calming effect on the listener, or possibly increases in whole-brain synchronisation that cause altered states of consciousness, depending how hard (or gently) you listen.”
  8. Yacouba Konate plays Baniden
    James: “The song I wanted to put here isn’t on YouTube, but this is the same instrument. Play on repeat for an hour and see if you feel like a better person. (Stream the song I wanted to include here).
  9. La Monte Young – Raga for Ravi
    James: “How much I love this makes me realise I might actually be a hippy. Fact: things that are meant to be hypnotic have that effect simply because you think they will – meta-hypnotic. I hope knowing that helps the non-hippies amongst you get past the smell of nag champa on this.”
  10. The Black Dog – The End of Time
    James: “Soundtrack to my teen years. This is what I imagined music in clubs would be like. #disappointed. These guys deserve to be rated up there with AFX if you ask me: their dense, mystical drug-dub still sounds future today.”

The Barbican and the Wellcome Trust will present Wonder: Art & Science on the Brain during March and April 2013.

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