Let’s bring it down to a whole different level with this throwback from 2003. I haven’t shared much of James Holden’s work, so I figured I would start with my favorite compilation of his. I enjoy this one the most because it lies exactly halfway between his experimental side and his commercially popular material. James’ creativity shines at both ends, however this compilation is the most complete because it blends tracks from across the entire spectrum.

The first mix is definitely more melodic and danceable, while the second one verges on eccentric. Favorites from Disc 1 include the beautiful intro The Difference It Makes, Oshawa, All Together, and the amazing Real. I have never been able to enjoy the vocals from Do What You Want, but the two versions of Nathan Fake’s Outhouse certainly make up for that. PQM’s You Are Sleeping is a mesmerizing classic release from Yoshitoshi Recordings. The last two songs from the disc set up the second disc perfectly, as they dial up the sonal intensity. Disc 2 is a little darker in mood and the uniqueness of each individual track really stands out. Tracks like Colours, Hayling, Lifeformation, and Forme are all exceptional. Others such as The Wheel, Black Acid, and Ghetto Server are perfect examples showcasing the complex medley of sound that Holden brings with this album.

If you are looking for a journey through an electronic dreamland, James Holden is the captain for you. This album encompasses so many different aspects of electronic dance music in one balanced package. Disc 1 has more structure and consistency to it, so that is my preferred mix out of the two. I have listened to it repeatedly, and I am still hearing new sounds which were previously unheard. I also find it amazing how James is able to build so much tension without using big breakdowns. The mixing (primarily done using Pro Tools) is seamless. Oftentimes I would start listening to the album and before I knew it, I would be halfway through it without noticing any track changes. The Balance series has seen 19 releases so far, and I believe this is the best one. Take your time and give this a few listens, there are enough colors on this pallet for you to explore over and over again. If you enjoy this album and are looking for something even more intricate, check out At the Controls, which came out in 2006. Balance 005 was released on EQ Recordings from Australia, begin your journey here:

01 The MFA – The Difference It Makes (Original Mix)
02 Meta.83 – Metalgroove
03 Jake Fairley – Oshawa
04 Zeta Reticula – Tool 1
05 Petter – All Together
06 Baby Ford & The Ifach Collective – Bad Friday
07 Zeta Reticula – Tool 3
08 Avus – Real
09 DJ ESP – No Future (Soundburnt mix)
10 Jase From Outta Space featuring Claire – Do What You Want (Infusion’s Sky mix)
11 Nathan Fake – Outhouse (Fluffy mix)
12 Nathan Fake – Outhouse (Original Mix)
13 FortDax – Fortune Telling Fish, Curled to Suggest ‘Home’
14 PQM – You Are Sleeping (PQM meets Luke Chable Vocal pass)
15 Petter – These Days (Instrumental)
16 Herrmann & Klein – Leaving You Behind (Without Knowing Where To Go)


01 Meek – Happy
02 Meerkat – Colours (JH re-edit)
03 Avus – Your Body (Original Mix)
04 Scape One – PFX Tokyo
05 FC Kahuna – Hayling (Kosmas Epilson mix)
06 Holden – The Wheel (Pass 1)
07 Kotai + Mo – Black Acid pt 1
08 Epsilon 9 – Lifeformation (Infimal Machine mix)
09 Carl A Finlow – Ghetto Server
10 Gill Norris – Forme
11 Ficta – Eli
12 Petter – Tonediary
13 Form & Function – Wonderland (Original Mix)
14 Meta.83 – Metalgroove ep:End Titles