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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday Night: Hamburg's DJ Koze Shows Off His Skills at a Secret Party

Posted By on Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 9:02 PM

DJ Koze in S.F. on Friday night
  • DJ Koze in S.F. on Friday night
After the Sunset with DJ Koze
November 5, 2010
@ A secret location in San Francisco

Better than:
Any DJ you'd get dragged by well-meaning friends to see at Ruby Skye.

Halfway through his four-hour set Friday night, Hamburg's DJ Koze released his obsessive grip of the decks and stood upright, shuffling through a semi-vaudeville breakdance that only French hip-hop DJs would actually consider cool. The enthusiastic audience surrounding him in the dark laughed knowingly and cheered him on. Going from serious to clown in 3.5 seconds is what Stefan Kozalla, thus Koze, does best: His career journey over the past 12-plus years has woven itself lithely through über-Kompakt minimal soldier struts on the way to his latest amusements -- dropping the needle on silly Caribbean psychedelic jams that might even please a timeshare-condo couple.

One thing that imaginary couple might not understand is the depth and development of Kozalla's taste for records, sounds and samples. On Friday, he remixed Caribou's "Found Out," showing off his second-best skill (just behind primary mixing). It was easy to see how Koze took runner-up in the international DMC DJ Championships -- mostly a hip-hop, breaks and scratching DJ's contest -- when he glided seamlessly from Art Department and Seth Troxler's "Without You" to a Juan Atkins-style futuristic techno racer that descended into tinkling bells and fading notes.


dj_koze_1.jpg
Those fading sounds were another one of Koze's masterful tricks, giving the crowd more punch per track to jumpstart our batteries -- at times, maybe too much punch for the near-5:00 a.m. mark. This German machine kept charging along fluidly and ferociously, while the "Let Timmy Smoke" San Francisco crowd struggled to keep up. Riding it out past his four-hour time slot, DJ Koze seemed to be just warming up, though for the last few laps of wax, he courteously started to mellow the vibe with a soulful housey serenade.

Critic's Notebook 


The set got a bit ploddy in the third hour, as one might expect of any marathoner, so attention deficits became excuses for lame crowd manners (i.e. stepping on feet, elbowing past, groping unnecessarily). At his Bay Area debut in a new secret location, Koze occasionally jarred our senses with some volume volatility; it wasn't clear whether this was deliberate or accidental. There were also a few leaps, bumps, and CD and record skips that were likely more due to the whompish crowd's flailing appendages and hips than the DJ. Koze made few errors. His confidence shined when he took a few moments (or maybe years?) to be ridiculous.

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Roxanne Tomco

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