James Holden's A Cambodian Spring OST arrives on Border Community, a fourteen-track selection of pulsing melancholy and everglade drones that are occasionally punctured by a burst of beatless trance, courtesy of his trusted Prophet 600.
A Cambodian Spring is a documentary directed by Christopher Kelly that tells the story of modern political life in Cambodia from the protests that sparked the Cambodian Spring and into its aftermath. Planting the seed that grew into James Holden writing the films OST, Christopher Kelly originally wanted to feature the track "Self-Playing Schmaltz" from Holden's 2013 now classic LP the Inheritors, this conversation evolved into the idea of James Holden being invited to compose the entire film score, his debut within the world of soundtrack recording.
Where Holden's recent work with The Animal Spirits was a collaborative project that focused in on hypnotic ritual musick and forest dwelling electronic transmissions, A Cambodian OST sees him operating entirely in isolation. Making a departure from the polyrhythmic patterns of his previous records, this OST shows a new side to James Holden's work, one that carries more of a pensive nature and a primary focus on slowly building and endlessly morphing atmospheres that really do capture the emotion portrayed within the film. Summoning up sounds from his self described 'cranky old' Hammond organ, an instrument which began to fall apart during the recording of the score (as made evident on the three-part eulogy Disintegration Drone) the music matches the intensity of the focus of the film, a group of activists fighting corrupt developers and officials as they try and protect their right to their land. From long, drawn-out passages of crystalized arpeggios to the contemplative sawtooth chords, A Cambodian Spring OST as a soundtrack and a stand-alone album in its own right has much to offer all that follow the narrative and step into the story that it tells.