Originally conceived by DJ/producer David Holmes (b. 14 February 1969, Belfast, Northern Ireland) as a means of performing his own studio creations live, the Free Association rapidly mutated into a recording entity in their own right. The group first surfaced as a predominantly instrumental collaboration between Holmes and programmer Steve Hilton on the former’s 2002 mix album, Come Get It I Got It. The Free Association’s early atmospheric idents appeared alongside the DJ’s mix of 60s and 70s funk and R&B from luminaries such as Muddy Waters, Johnny Otis, Betty Adams, and the Peter Thomas Soundtrack Orchestra. For the Free Association’s self-titled debut album, the band was extended to include sometime Beta Band collaborator Sean Reveron and Petra Jean Phillipson, a singer whose voice recalled that of Billie Holiday. Ironically, however, the Free Association’s fried funk seemed oddly prosaic in comparison to Holmes’ solo albums. Hilton is one half of 13 Amp project Children and notably worked alongside producer David Arnold as a programmer and co-composer on the soundtrack to the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.
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