James Holden has released a collaborative EP with Maalem Houssam Guinia via Border Community. 

The EP pairs Holden’s modular synth work with a style of Moroccan ceremonial music called Gnawa, performed by Maalem Houssam Guinia, son of the late Gnawa legend Maalem Mahmoud Guinia. While Holden busies himself with an array of synthesizers and electronics, Guinia and his band cycle through a trio of call-and-response grooves. “The resulting record is a thrillingly energetic combination of the analog and the digital,” the label explains. 

Holden originally recorded with the older Guinia in Marrakech in 2014, which later became the Marhaba EP that Eglo and Border Community put out in 2015, and then when Holden played together with Houssam and his band, it turned out that Houssam had upheld the family tradition well. 

The new music was recorded almost exactly two years ago when Maalem Houssam Gania was in London with his band to play a concert with Holden for the Barbican Centre at LSO St Luke’s. The day before the event, they went to Holden’s studio to rehearse and record, and recorded three versions. 

“My favorite is the version of “Pass Through The Fire'”(from the Animal Spirits LP) which was inspired by Gnawa in the first place, so to have Houssam spot its similarity to “Bouri Bouri Manadabo” and weave the two together felt really special, something coming full circle,” Holden explains. “And Houssam, though thrust into the spotlight at a young age by the passing of his father, is a phenomenal player—the solidity of his rhythm puts him up there with the best. I feel lucky to get to play with this band, I hope you all enjoy it.” 


01. Pass Through The Fire + Bouri Bouri Manandabo 

02. Youmala 

03. Baba Hamouda

Three Live Takes EP is out now.