David Holmes / The Free Association

David Holmes Presents the Free Association

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As proved by his commercial success at soundtracking Hollywood swingers, as well as his artistic success at beguiling listeners with mixes of groovy musical arcana, David Holmes' taste-making skills often appear greater than his talents at actually creating new music. While his production work has indeed been solid and inventive, his Essential Mixes have earned him the most fans among those who take music seriously. Following on from Come Get It I Got It, a record that blended his own new productions with rare-groove classics, the entirely original David Holmes Presents the Free Association illustrated yet again that his own productions are incredibly skilled -- as glimpsed on his full-length debut, This Film's Crap Let's Slash the Seats, and 2000's excellent Bow Down to the Exit Sign. Kicking off the record with an electric thrill are a pair of high-powered, perfectly infectious songs -- one a rap track recalling the glory days of the Chemical Brothers, the other a soul shouter reminiscent of Shirley Bassey. Admitting just a bare few hooks borrowed from past classics and boasting plenty of live playing by musicians he's actually hired (instead of licensed), David Holmes Presents the Free Association marks another challenge fulfilled for Holmes. If he occasionally bows to delivering a catchy, modernist sound instead of trying to make something truly timeless, he's at least supremely efficient at creating some of the most energetic, groovy music heard in a long time.

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