Dance and Electronica with Chris Honnery

Despite techno wizardsJames HoldenandDJ Kozebeing the star attractions on the lineup for Melbourne New Year’s Day festival Let Them Eat Cake, local denizens remained uncertain as to whether the pair would also turn out in Sydney so long as no further Australian dates were announced for the duo. After all, Holden did inexplicably snub Sydney when he toured Australia in December last year, opting to only play at the Strawberry Fields Victorian bush bash in November 2012 and adding further fire to the Sydney versus Melbourne rivalry in the process. Thankfully, Sydney shows have now been announced for both acts, with Holden set to headline Strange Fruit’sNew Year’s Everomp atThe Abercrombie, while DJ Koze has been drafted in to bolster the Lost Disco lineup, which will take place in the opulent confines ofIvy Pool BaronNew Year’s Day. Let’s walk and talk throughDeep Impressions’ suggested new year’s itinerary in more detail.

Well, well, well. Look who comes crawling back. Ok, I’ll drop the sulking, forget last year’s misguided itinerary – it isn’t any fun staying mad at James, is it? – and focus on Holden redeeming himself in spectacular fashion throughout the early hours of the New Year. One of the most captivating producers in the club sphere, both as a producer and DJ, Holden mines his own field of experimental electronica, showcasing dreamy and at times abrasive analogue soundscapes. In his early days, Holden contributed a classic instalment to the Balance compilation series, and has since released equally laudable mixes for the DJ Kicks and At The Controls canons. Of course, many best remember Holden for his rework of Nathan Fake’s ‘The Sky Was Pink’, which still whips dancefloors into a frenzy today. However the Border Community record label head honcho is not one to play it safe and re-tread territory that he’s previously mastered as a producer. When I interviewed him in 2010, Holden revealed: “I spent a couple of years where I got really annoyed by the music that people saw as related to Border Community. People were just doing copies of ‘The Sky Was Pink’ and it really put me off that sound. I started to really hate the ‘computer techno’ sound.” Consequently Holden reinvented and expanded his sonic palette, remixing the likes of Caribou and Radiohead in the lead up to releasing The Inheritors earlier this year. Drawing its name from a William Golding novel, The Inheritors was ostensibly influenced by the likes of Four Tet and Steve Reich. Building on the foundations of his DJ Kicks compilation from 2010 and his excellent debut LP The Idiots Are Winning, Holden’s recent LP is one of the best releases of this year, yielding serene slices of blissed out, droning synthtronica such as ‘Blackpool Late Eighties’, which ranks alongside Holden’s very best productions.

Hamburg producer Stefan Kozalla, AKA DJ Koze, is one of the few figures who can challenge Holden for the title of best electronic album of 2013. His album Amygdala featured guest spots from Caribou, Apparat, Dirk von Lowtzow, Hildegard Knef, Matthew Dear, Ada and Milosh, and lived up to the expectation one would expect from a project that involved so many heavy hitters. While Amygdala was only Koze’s second full-length solo album since he released Kosi Comes Around on Kompakt Records in ’05, his eclectic discography is replete with productions of the highest standard. Koze’s work with vocalist Cosmic DJ and instrumentalist Erobique as International Pony is often criminally overlooked, while he’s also released a litany of quirky floor-thumping singles such as ‘I Want To Sleep’ and ‘Mr Bojangles’, along with remixes of Matias Aguayo, Matthew Herbert and Efdemin, which utilises a sample from the film Basquiat to brilliant effect. In recent times, Koze has broken away from Kompakt, starting his own record label Pampa and releasing albums from Isolee and Ada. Koze is scheduled to play an early set at the NYD party before heading down to Melbourne for theLet Them Eat Cakefestival, which means that the Holden and Koze double bill is not as arduous as it may seem on paper – New Year’s shenanigans always involve an element of stamina, after all.

Looking Deeper

Saturday November 2

Alex Smoke

The Abercrombie

Saturday November 23

John Tejada & Moomin’

The Burdekin

Tuesday December 31

James Holden

The Abercrombie

Wednesday January 1

DJ Koze

Ivy Pool Club

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