James Holden's latest album comes in the shape of his debut soundtrack project, A Cambodian Spring OST.
The album, which follows 2017’s The Animal Spirits album, accompanies the critically-acclaimed documentary A Cambodian Spring, which, following international film festival success, a programme of UK-wide screenings, and a near-worldwide slot on MUBI, is currently available to buy on DVD, Blu-Ray, download, and stream. It is Holden's first film soundtrack.
We're told that the release sees the British artist draw on his favourite go-to analogue instruments to showcase the many sides of his diverse musical leanings throughout 14 tracks of pulsing melancholy, foreboding drone, and even the occasional burst of beatless trance.
The starting point for the soundtrack was "Self-Playing Schmaltz," the closing track of Holden’s 2013 album, The Inheritors, which documentary director Chris Kelly had used in an early rough cut to soundtrack what would eventually become the shocking and dramatic denouement of the whole film. Holden’s haunting, decaying synth lines seemed to line up perfectly with the fraught images of a community in breakdown, and it was this serendipity that prompted Kelly to invite Holden to work on a whole new original soundtrack for the rest of the film.
The signature Prophet 600 sound palette which dominated The Inheritors also features heavily here, supplemented by a cranky old Hammond organ. It's said to be "certainly powerful and arresting when viewed in context, set against the striking collection of images assembled by director Chris Kelly," but as a stand alone album release it also has much to offer, "with cleansing, contemplative drone, and euphoric melodies alike," we're told.
A1. Srey Pov’s Theme
A2. Monk’s Theme Part I
A3. Downturn Medley
A4. Solidarity Theme (Villagers)
A5. Monk’s Theme Part II
A6. The Villagers
A7. Disintegration Drone I
A8. Solidarity Theme (Release)
A9. Monk’s Theme Part III (Exit)
B1. Disintegration Drone II (Torn Cone)
B2. Disintegration Drone III (Death Rattle)
B3. Self-Playing Schmaltz
B4. Srey Pov’s Theme (End Credits)
A Cambodian Spring OST will land on January 25 via Border Community, with the film trailer and "Solidarity Theme" below, and pre-order here.