British electronic music producer James Holden is no stranger to the schism between live performances and recorded music.

His past critically lauded albums, such as 2013's William Golding inspired The Inheritors and the live jazz-trance of 2017's The Animal Spirits, have explored the clash between analogue and digital eras, seeking to capture the raw energy of live performance. With his latest stellar offering, Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities, Holden continues to break down these ever-confounding boundaries, doing so against the yearning for a rave scene of yore through a sonic conversation with his younger self.

The new album continues Holden’s search for musical transcendence with a myriad of inspirations, influences, and impressions. The result is a psychedelic journey incorporating various acoustic materials. These materials include AI software, modular synths, sequencers, drum kits, piano, and violin. The tracks are all instrumentals, with field recordings adding an organic, human touch. The music was then played through a circular set of speakers and re-recorded for the final mix, muddling the distinction between live and pre-taped. With this, Holden's approach to creating music is undoubtedly utopian, seeking to develop a sense of togetherness and a shared moment in time. The result is a rich, layered sound that draws on a range of musical traditions. The album's title itself suggests a boundless, limitless space where anything is possible, and the music reflects this sense of infinite potential.

Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities opens with You Are In A Clearing, placing you in a pastoral setting where pounding drums and illumination starbursts evoke an outdoor rave's beginning. The cosmic track perfectly introduces the album with its pulsating rhythms, surprises, and unexpected twists.

Holden's exploration of the intersection of analogue and digital eras is evident throughout the album, as he seamlessly merges acoustic and electronic sounds. Tracks like the epic-length lead single Contains Multitudes and Trust Your Feet transport the listener back to the pre-corporatized electronic music scene, now decades removed, whether through tinkling melodies or vintage breakbeats. However, Holden also draws inspiration from other musical traditions, like krautrock, as heard on Worlds Collide Mountains Form, which features an idiosyncratic meeting between folk and funk.

Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities also showcases Holden's technical prowess as a producer. The different musical elements are layered and manipulated with precision. This creates an intricate and immersive soundscape that is almost otherworldly.

Of course, none of this would matter if the music itself wasn't engaging, but fortunately, Holden's compositions are consistently captivating. A standout track, The Answer Is Yes features propulsive rhythms and hypnotic synth arrangements that build to an uplifting climax. Continuous Revolution is another highlight with its insistent bassline and shimmering textures creating a tension that is never entirely resolved. In Common Land, Holden uses a mix of acoustic and electronic sounds to create a dreamy, otherworldly soundscape with a Balearic tinge, a soundscape both haunting and beautiful. The Missing Key then builds to a frenzied climax before the album closer, You Can Never Go Back leaves us with a sense of nostalgic longing.

Overall, Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities is an album that rewards those who dare join Holden on his utopian quest with careful listening, with new details and textures revealing themselves each and every time. James Holden has always been a musician who defies categorization; this album is no exception. It is a testament to the power of hope, imagination and experimentation in an era of formulaic, template-driven electronic music.