utorak, 2. travnja 2013.

DJ Koze - Amygdala (2013)

DJ Koze – Amygdala

Stefan Kozella stvara kaleidoskopsku plesnu muziku koja se prilagođava materijalu plesačeva djetinjstva. Pastoralna pasterizirana elektronika za walltzer širom zatvorenih očiju.
Muziku nije potrebno zabijati u pod čavlima ili vješati na zid seksom. A koze i jarci trebali bi slobodno šetati gradovima.
Gostujući pjevači: Caribou, Apparat, Matthew Dear, Hildegard Knef...

www.djkoze.de/


DJ Koze ‎- Royal Asscher Cut

DJ Koze feat. Caribou - Track ID Anyone?


'Amygdala' is Koze's Sgt. Pepper. It's an unreal 78-minute walk through Koze's mind, complete with moods, intensities, sounds and scenes as yet unheard of. Nobody else could unite artists like Caribou, Apparat and Dirk von Lotzow, Hildegard Knef and Matthew Dear, Ada and Milosh in such an organic way and on one and the same record as Koze did. There's never been anything like it.
His new album wanders through moods, intensities and scenes. Rather than trying to figure out the whole cosmos it's really about inviting all the different soundscapes on stage, and initiating a dialogue between them. It's large in its stylistic spectrum and emotional depth, but it's small in its gestures and poses. Singers from Caribou to Apparat, from Matthew Dear to Hildegard Knef appear on equal terms: Koze frees the voices from the mists of effect. Instead of using reverberation and echo, he is concerned with the surface feel and the intimacy of the singing. And just like in earlier times with his band International Pony, this familiar insecurity about whether a piece is a song or a track is again only too welcome.
Nobody's interested in any kind of specialist professionalism that's struggling to create the ever more perfect dub-techno tune, nor in working your way through all the great songs of pop history. The tracks on 'Amygdala' are remixes of tracks that have never even existed. - www.contactmusic.com/
Over the last 13 years, Stefan Kozella, better known as DJ Koze, established himself as one of the most playful producers in electronic music. Through numerous singles and remixes (not to mention an excellent remix compilation), he developed a cheeky and light-footed touch that was distinctive in a way few producers can manage.Amygdala is his second proper album as DJ Koze, and it arrives on his own Pampa label a full eight years after his first full-length, Kosi Comes Around. This time he's called in a few favors: eight of the album's 13 tracks have vocal appearances from old friends like Matthew Dear, Caribou and Ada.
Amydala is described in its press sheet as Koze's Sgt. Pepper, and there's definitely some truth to that notion. Over its nearly 80-minute runtime, Koze's wide-eyed, kaleidoscopic brand of dance music veers from lush, end-of-night house timbres to pastoral, waltzy electronica. But even with the heavy reliance on guest spots, it's very much the single-minded work of Koze. Unexpected instrumental flourishes abound: brief bits of live bass emerge from moments of retreat, as do squealing horns, spring-like bells, and even what sounds like an un-sampled Marvin Gaye ode.
Opener "Track ID Anyone" slowly evolves from a fuzzy vocal intro through tumbling, minimalistic swirls of sound before Caribou's soft voice enters from the front. Both of Matthew Dear's tracks—the wood-block shuffle of "Magical Boy" and the sample-littered strut of "My Plans"—use the American's well-screened vocals to explore some curious modes of self-examination ("when I'm climbing lemon trees of feeling / time on my hands when I'm running out of faith"). "Homesick" has a hip-hop swagger that's undercut by glinting bells and Ada's gorgeous vocal hook.
Elsewhere, Koze finds time to recline in the idiosyncratic minimalism of yesteryear. "Royal Asscher Cut" stitches strange, off-pitched samples into a whirling bit of house. "Marilyn Whirlwind" combines dark, almost acidic squelches with itchy guitar stretches to form one of the record's few after-dark moments. For my money though,Amygdala's most overtly joyous moment comes on "Das Wort," which begins on a tubby, almost inaudible beat before live bass introduces the track's central chime-like motif. And yet, just as you settle into this sunny little groove, there's that Marvin Gaye nod: "we're all sensitive people / soooo much to give." It's infectious and almost a little too odd, yet it's totally at ease. In other words, it's DJ Koze doing what he's done for well over a decade. - Derek Miller



Stefan Kozella is a whimsical guy. His music, from his early hip-hop moment through to his minimal techno heyday, has always been suffused with warm psychedelic colour. He brings that touch to his renowned remixes, where he reshapes the tracks of others in ways that would seem totally foreign to most. His first solo album in nine years, Amygdala appears after a quiet period that produced only 2009’s remix retrospective Reincarnations, and the founding of his own Pampa imprint. The German producer’s newest original work retains the quirky spirit of Reincarnations but settles into a kaleidoscopic landscape.
In a quote that’s been haunting Amygdala, Koze has apparently claimed the LP as his Sgt. Pepper’s. Hubris aside, that’s not such an unfair comparison. Both records rethink their respective genres from the ground-up, using elements and instruments that seem unusual on first glance but quietly lay the foundation for subtle reinvention. While it’s not likely to set the world on fire, dig beneath the pastel sheen and Amygdala is uncommonly engrossing for a techno album. Its visionary ambition recalls the fertile sprawl of Villalobos’ 2003 debut Alcachofa; baroque techno blessed with the carefree spirit of lounge music and Quiet Storm, dressed up in tie-dye, the music on Amygdala glows with an easy confidence.
Amygdala feels like a painting made up of delicate brushstrokes compared to techno’s laser-cut precision. Kozalla often chooses softly expressive horns or lolling organ over electronics, as on the plush spring overture of “Royal Asscher Cut”, and numerous vocal features only add to the effect. For an artist who has spoken on record how he hates collaborating, over half of Amygdala’s tracks have a “feature” credit as he brings out a cast of charismatic vocalists from Caribou's Dan Snaith to Matthew Dear. The dips into German balladry via his retouch of the classic Hildegard Knef lament “Ich Schreib’ Dir Ein Buch”, or his own heartworn slow-jam “Das Wort”, contribute to the the hallucinatory haze of styles and voices, like scrambling through a radio dial on mushrooms.
Koze has always had a predilection for looping microscopic vocal fragments as the chief anchor for his songs. But now these ghostly voices coexist with the fleshed-out songwriting; on “Das Wort” they provide a sugary counterpoint to Dirk Von Lowtzow’s gruff German consonants, and on “Ich Schreib’ Dir ein Buch 2013”, a Motown choir’s rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is twisted into a sickly tapestry of moans and screeches. Overstuffed and overfed, each track is an embarrassment of riches with a hook or melodic morsel everywhere you look, but Kozalla never loses the plot in the overflow of ideas.
That’s probably why Amygdala feels so accomplished: songwriting. It’s not something we often think too hard about in dance music. But Koze considers every aspect, from hummable melodies to pristine soundscapes to lyrics. Wisely leaning away from dance music cliches of love and desire, Amygdala’s subjects veer from everyday life to grappling with nostalgia and self-identity. Its most charming moment comes with Matthew Dear’s quirky vocal spot on “My Plans”. In a typically alien cadence, Dear addresses the anxiety of a world where everything seems to be going wrong with the cheeky line: “When I notice the world is falling apart/ I will run a bath/ And why does this make me laugh?” It’s a fine motto for Koze himself, never losing sight of his infectious sense of humour or complete resistance to trends. With Amygdala, he's created an album that invites obsession. - Andrew Ryce



Kosi Comes Around (2005)





Stefan Kozalla comes from Hamburg, so maybe that explains his distance from the middle-aged-man-funk of the rest of Kompakt's Cologne-based output. He also got his start as a hip-hop DJ, which explains his DJ sets, full of hard edits, scratching, and ghetto-tech odes to popping that pussy alongside the standard issue melodic tech-house. His 2004 mix All People is My Friends opened with the Langley Schools Music Project before getting down to "business" with Farben and Mathew Jonson. As Adolf Noise, he's recorded everything from grating punk-techno to a drunken seaside cover of "We Are the World" with himself doing all the voices. As one-third of International Pony he's made two discs of post-Daft Punk pop dance, one released on a major label.
Which is why the relatively straight melodic house and techno of Kosi Comes Around is such a pleasant surprise. It's a rather risky gambit, considering he's built most of his rep so far on stepping outside genre conventions. "Don't Feed the Cat" jacks along on little more than its own percussive momentum, reminding us that for all the home listening rhetoric that rightly gets thrown around with dance music CDs, its power is still rooted in the rhythmic. "The Geklöppel Continues" blurs the line between harmonic and rhythmic entirely, as the melody is hammered with such force that it becomes part of the beat. "My Grandmotha" is a bit like a house music Boards of Canada, with tiny melodic chunks swirling wistfully. "Estrella" likewise plonks itself squarely in the Kompakt tradition of chugging, dewy melancholy.
The album climaxes with the strange 2003 anthem "Brutalga Square", a trawl through a dark, dank German sewer full of bass, lots of negative space, and strange, rattling offbeats. This is still Koze's most famous track, nearly 10 minutes of ridiculously tense brooding with no release. After the pleasing, warm music of most of Kosi Comes Around, this plunge into the underworld is disorienting, like suddenly being stranded in a long, dark tunnel. The very bright light at the end comes with "Chiminea", a sweetly lilting comedown that floats us out to sea. The Hamburglar himself winks at us as his balloon sails over the sunset, pleased as punch that there's still life left in a twenty year old genre. While I appreciate all his half-soldered bedroom experiments and flashy way with a crossfader, I'm pretty pleased with the results. - Jess Harvell

In the last 2 years Hamburg's DJ Koze (Stefan Kozalla, also known as a member of dance/pop outfit International Pony) has burst onto the Kompakt label with a couple of killer 12"s (including Speicher 20's "Brutalga Square") and a well-received mix CD (the almost self-consciously eclectic "All People Is My Friends"). Hopes were understandably high that Koze's first full-length album, "Kosi Comes Around", would maintain the high standards he'd started with. Yet these weren’t the only hopes and expectations riding on Koze’s album. The unspoken hopes seemed to be that Koze could perhaps deliver what so few can: a strong, full length Kompakt album. Kompakt, enjoying fully deserved recognition for its excellent 12"s, compilations, and mix CDs, has often had trouble delivering strong full length albums (Markus Guentner, Justus Kohncke, and Thomas Fehlmann being exceptions). Contrary to initial critical opinions (which have since seen some backpedaling), Superpitcher's "Here Comes Love" was intensely disappointing, and Michael Mayer's "Touch" never hit the heights his earlier productions and remixes promised.
The hopes and expectations, then, were indeed high. So, does “Kosi Comes Around” deliver?
The first track "Estrella" could only ever be an album opener, announcing its intentions quickly and laying the blueprint for the rest of the album. We open with sampled whispered voices, a hint of a scratched record, and a chiming yet ever so slightly melancholic melody. A woman says, "I hope that it is Koze", hinting at Koze's awareness of the hopes surrounding the album. The beats come rolling in, as a gorgeous wash of strings envelops the track before diving down into a driving bassline. It's a strong track, and a very strong opener; the chimes, strings, and hint of melancholy all telling us that we're firmly in Kompakt territory. Yet the deft layering of multiple samples also hints that we're in Koze's neck of the woods. This is Kompakt according to Koze, if you will.
Strings and samples of all kinds, particularly voices, are an important part of Koze's palette here. "My Grandmotha", undoubtedly the highlight of the album, is a gorgeous, slow-paced piece of sweet melancholy, starting with barely whispered voices that become stronger and clearer, singing a child-like melody about their grandmother. The initial lower bass tones are swept away by shimmering harp sounds and strings that carry the track through to its end, evoking childhood memories of joy.
"Barock Am Ring" is a short sweet (although somewhat aimless) track, built almost entirely from samples such as naïve piano melodies, horn sounds, snippets of childlike voices and vocal harmonies. The strings come in again on album closer "Chiminea", which gently rocks us to sleep with a lovely acoustic guitar and piano combination and (more) sampled vocal harmonies that hint at Koze’s pop sensibilities. These tracks display an obvious sensitivity, and a love of the sentimental. They clearly adhere to the Kompakt aesthetic, while also clearly displaying Koze's love of sampling and pop.
Of course, "Kosi Comes Around" is not all shimmering joy. Koze is nothing if not versatile, and drives equally towards the dancefloor on tracks such as “Don’t Feed The Cat”, full of old-school rave-up pianos, insistent handclap beats, and the sound of an angry swarm of synthetic insects. A vocal sample on “Raw” informs us that we're listening to "house music" over the top of rolling beats, the sly hint of a shuffle (yet another Kompakt trademark), and the sounds of something cracking and crumbling in the background. "Dangernugget" is all woozy sounds and distorted vocals, slightly disorienting, slightly narcotic. There's an edge to all of these tracks, be it the almost angry synth sounds, the crumbling sounds that threaten to break apart completely, or the wooziness that threatens to drug the listener.
The CD includes two of Koze’s earlier highlights for the vinyl challenged, "The Geklöppel Continues" and the dancefloor destroyer "Brutalga Square". "Brutalga Square", presented in all nine minutes of its glory, is nothing if not a classic, building its slow brooding tension to an almost unbearable state before finally dropping a killer beat and bassline combination that is guaranteed to make a dancefloor go completely spastic.
The album, then, is split between shimmering tracks and edgy dancefloor numbers, with Koze demonstrating his versatility and flair. To be honest, the tracks don't all sit completely comfortably with each other, which holds “Kosi Comes Around” back from being a great album. The tracks themselves, however, are strong, full of interesting textures and hooks. It's very clearly a Kompakt album, yet is not a carbon copy of "classic" Kompakt, with Koze's personality and style coming through just as clearly.
Koze has indeed come around, and he's brought what everyone's been hoping for: a solid full length Kompakt record. - www.residentadvisor.net/


For our money this is by far and away the best album Kompakt have released in their illustrious lifespan, enjoying heavy, nay constant rotation in our office and subject to the kind of adulation rarely seen round these parts for a genre that’s almost exclusively geared towards and for 12” releases. Koze has done something extremely rare with this album – carefully assembling a tracklisting that’s perfectly tweaked for primetime warehouse abuse alongside music that's hand carved into the most delicate homespun niche you could possibly imagine. The immediate destroyer here is the almost unacceptably good “Don’t Feed The Cat” - a classic jack-track full of the most spannered synth mutilations you’ll hear this year and the kind of simple, pure perucssive construction that rarely sounds as effortlessly good. All you Audion fans out there take note – this is unquestionably one of the tracks of the year. The ability to contrast each mood from its surroundings is Koze’s greatest achievement here, the sweet sweet progressions of “My Grandmotha” managing to sound like a cross between Jan Jelinek, Lawrence and the soundtrack to your childhood in one go, while the closing “Chimnea” may as well have been written by Calexico on a leave of absence from the Mariachi’s, hanging under the dusky palm trees of some impossibly glamorous location. Albums are rarely given this much love and attention when constructed and compiled, and the result is a record that spreads its wings without ever losing focus, coherency or complete and utter charm. Essential purchase. - boomkat


DJ Koze AKA Adolf Noise , Wo Die Rammelwolle Fliegt





Music Is Okay (2000)




Mrs. Bojangels (2009)



Reincarnations (The Remix Chapter 2001-2009) (2009)

It was fitting that Germany's Stefan Kozalla-- aka DJ Koze/Adolf Noise and one-half of techno-pop duo International Pony-- wound up the dance producer tapped to remix Battles' slippery electronic-rock single "Atlas" back in 2007. Obviously there was the track's queer bounce, the future-retro glam-rock rhythm partly inspired by Battles' interest in German "schaffel" techno, a sound pioneered by the Kompakt label, one of Koze's benefactors. But also: Go back and listen to Battles' Mirrored. Then throw on Reincarnations, this bulging new collection of Koze remixes. Rhythmically, they have next to nothing in common. Instead, they're two albums that delight in the goofy-unto-surreal things electronics can do to the human voice.
There's hardly a track on Reincarnations that's not peppered with tweaked vocals. Koze is a devotee of the ancient art of the vocoder or its modern-day software plug-in equivalent. He loves to use gender-flipping filters to turn his singers into robot androgynes. And he's not above a David Seville-ian blast of pitch-shifting just for fun. Sometimes, as on the sublimely silly "Minimal" by Matias Aguayo, the vocal is outlandish enough that Koze can more or less stay out of its way. And other times, as on Matthew Dear's "Elementary Lover", Koze the remixer overstuffs the track's four minutes-- from arch, starched whiteboy funk to a Venusian stadium rock outro. If you're cringing slightly at the thought of yet another techno remix album filled with identikit instrumentals, know that Koze's vocal play on Reincarnations adds new facets to already interesting tracks and turns boring cuts beguiling.
And lest you think his cut-ups are all laughs, there's nothing comedic about Koze's take on the laid-back funk of Heiko Voss' "Think About You". Instead he stretches the "I" in the "I think about you" refrain into an angelic background hum that sets the whole track swooning. It's a subtle move that points up the other thing that makes Reincarnations so listenable: Koze's craftsmanship, which is often put in the service of the kind of spaced-out, gentle loveliness that characterizes the "Think About You" remix. He may have a shameless a weakness for novelty shock tactics, but Koze's also a big softie with deft touch. The aforementioned "Atlas" remix is on the one hand truly perverse, stripping away that big, booming, instantly recognizable schaffel beat for fractured mid-tempo micro-rhythms. But its oddness becomes enchanting when the drums drop out entirely for a twinkling breakdown straight out of the late-1990s IDM school of music box melodies. Indeed, Koze's breakdowns alone elevate many of these tracks, even the "already good" ones: the water-torture pauses in Sascha Funke's "Mango Cookie"; the rave-y bleeps colliding with smeary swells of strings on Malaria's "Kaltes Klares Wasser (DJ Koze & the Tease Remix)". 
Reincarnations isn't flawless. Koze's take on Lawrence's "Rabbit Tube", for instance, settles for the kind of passable but generic minimal techno that's so temple-clutchingly dull across an entire album. But the fact that the "Rabbit Tube" remix acts more as a palette cleanser here, slipped between Koze's sonically restless techno-pop (Wechsel Garland's "Swim", with its long, silty intro) and dancefloor experiments (the drunken jazz of Noze's "Danse Avec Moi"), points out how effectively Reincarnations is programmed, if nothing else. That ear for sequencing means Koze's fashioned that rarest of remix albums: the kind might play start to finish, and more than once. -
Jess Harvell

“I’m turned on by melancholy”: DJ Koze talks Amygdala, Jennifer Lawrence and the virtues of goats

Over 15 years after his debut release, Stefan Kozalla is finally having his stint in the sun. 
Coming up with German hip-hop click Fischmob, Kozalla – alias DJ Koze – has spent the last decade-odd establishing himself as one of microhouse’s canniest, classiest operators. A productive period with Kompakt, a genre touchstone (2005′s Kosi Comes Around) and a rewarding remix collection (2009′s Reincarnations) have incrementally  built his reputation. Recent years, meanwhile, have seen him turn his focus towards his excellent Pampa imprint, responsible for releases from Isolée, Lawrence, Die Vögel and Dntel.
New LP Amygdala – a kaleidoscopic collection of soft-focus dance and machine-tooled psychedelia – is his richest full-length offering to date; boasting guest spots from Caribou, Apparat and Matthew Dear, it feels like the breakthrough record Kozalla has long deserved. With Amygdala on the near horizon, Bjørn Schaeffner caught up with the German producer (and seriously entertaining interview subject) to chat Ricardo Villalobos, the tourist trail and, of course, clubland’s restrictive “no cows no goats” policy.

“You don’t have to operate with a rave hammer on the dancefloor.”

Stefan, you spent a month in India. How was it?
“Really interesting. I went inside myself.”
That sounds fitting, since we also know you as the mock-guru Swahimi The Unenlightened. Still – were you looking for a bit of meaning in India?
(Laughs) “Yes, I found some meaning. But I’m a long way from illumination.”

And what meaning did you find?
“Oh, now this conversation is kicking off properly here! What kind of meaning I found? Hmm. I can’t wrap it in a simple formula. In any case it was an excellent experience. A welcome break.”
For the westerner, India is a bit like heaven and hell.
“That’s right. When you’re not feeling well, you can’t bear it one second; when you’re fine, you just embrace it and get this feeling of awe, that India is the cradle of humankind. Nowhere have I seen so many laughing people – people who are so incredibly poor, but they laugh at you without any hint of scepticism. What an overwhelming stream of impressions! This infinitely complex causal chain running through everything. It’s difficult to assess it. India just goes on and on and doesn’t care about you. You can just step into this stream and try to register the abundance of impressions.”
Did you listen to a lot of music?
“Absolutely not. Zero. For the first time in years. I listened to so much music before, I wanted to clean out my ears. Which doesn’t come easy in India with all the honking going on.”
India is filled with sounds.
“The country clearly has its own sound. When you visit temples in Kerala in the south west, you hear these muezzin-like preacher sounds echoing over the rice fields, but you can’t place where they are coming from. There are these diffuse oriental mantra sounds which are constantly in your ears. And it’s got something meditative and contemplative. The whole chaos makes more sense. Also, the fact that cows and chickens run on the streets makes a lot of sense to me. It’s strange to think that our society went so far to call this an absurdity. We must be doing something wrong then. Goats and cows should be roaming freely about. That would be much preferable. It feels cozy.”
Animals are frequent guests in the Koze cosmos. You’re a nature boy by heart?
“I get the feeling that urban spaces don’t make me happy. Though I’m not sure if I could live permanently in a village. But nature, anything that is rural, a life far off from any hipster streams makes me much happier. Actually, the very reasons why I moved to the city, the cultural offerings, the shops, the record shops and clubs, I don’t really partake in that. As soon as I’m in the countryside, happiness starts flowing. It took me a while to realize that. It wasn’t always like that. When I was 30 years old I couldn’t picture myself in the countryside.”
The visuals accompanying your album portray in you in various rustic disguises. Which is your favourite role? The elk rider, the goat shepherd, the oriental farmer or the painter?
“Well, this represents just a day in the life of DJ Koze. I stand on a meadow, ride with the elk to my studio, later slaughter a goats and then I’m bloated with food later.” (laughs)
Your stable Pampa is a home for like-minded eccentrical animals…
“We’re all kind of outsiders, yes. It’s great to have this small family. This gang which makes you feel that you’re not alone. Even though we’re way too old and too experienced to indulge in a posse thing. It’s just great to see that everyone motivates and inspires you, that you help each other out. Like providing stuff for Die Vögel or Ada. And then someone likes Isolée brings in a track like ‘Allowance’, which is a total hit for me.”
It’s a superb record.
“Yes, it’s incredible. That’s when everyone from the family gets up and cheers “Wow, what is this?” and they all sit down again [laughs]. That’s a great motivation. And it makes a lot of fun. You just observe how it all unfolds. After the first three records we didn’t know what Pampa would be like. Well, we don’t know now what Pampa stands for, we only know what it doesn’t stand for. It’s a label open to many directions. But you won’t hear tool techno on Pampa, anything functional and cold. Above all we don’t try to follow certain trends. And we’re all quite demanding and have been a long time in the game. My artists wouldn’t give me tracks they can’t stand behind. There’s a kind of advance ISO standard of quality at play here.”

“I radiate something much less peaceful than Ricardo when I step into the booth with a sour look on my face.”

What’s in the making at Pampa?
“We will release an EP for my album. Then an EP with Ada with unreleased tracks by myself is up. There’s another EP coming from the Dürerstuben in Berlin, two talented musicians that sent us some very fascinating tracks. Then there will be a Die Vögel EP, and, if all goes well, a new Die Vögel album. Many great artists are still in debt. Matthew Herbert wants do do a remix, as do Wolfgang Voigt and Efdemin. This year a lot will be released, as opposed to last year, when many artists were just moping and crawling in their hole. This year we’ll bring a lot of food to the table. Next year probably less.”
Your album is called Amygdala, named after the part in the brain that deals with our fears. So the album is about fear?
“Fear has always a very prominent theme in my thoughts. Which is good and sometimes also bad and it shouldn’t lead too far, but fear is always an impulse for me.”
And how do you overcome fears when you deejay?
“By drinking alcohol. But I’m clearly not the first one to do this.” (laughs)
It’s a universal measure…
“Yes, it got accepted. Over thousands of years. All artists that perform have fears to cope with, and in the thrall of fear you can picture strange things happening. It was funny to watch the Academy Awards when this woman [Jennifer Lawrence] was walking up to the stage to get her Oscar and then she stumbled. Which is really the one moment where you shouldn’t stumble at all! Yet, a mishap like this still occurs. Maybe it happened because she was thinking all the time about not stumbling. Or you picture yourself getting shortness of breath when you perform. Or that you can’t swing the mood in the right direction.”
Tell us about the collaboration process with the various guest singers on Amygdala.
“A big part of the album was recorded in Spain, where Matthew Dear also came to visit. I have a small studio there. I visited Milosh in L.A. But actually I’m not a big fan of direct collaboration. So this process entails a rather contemporary way of sending files back and forth. I’m glad to note that all the artists I worked with are all so pleasantly unvain. They’re almost unsure. They might write to you saying it sounds all crappy and that they’re not getting into gear. And they’ll send me the first draft with which they are happy and then I will listen to it and now I think my music feels crappy! That it no longer measures up. So the tracks slowly morphed into being. Some tracks took over a year to finish, slowly and easy. But there’s a lot of work involved. And a lot of doubt and dismissal.”
What came easiest to you while doing this album?
“I really like shaping the music around vocal parts. That way ideas always start flowing. People send me acapellas, and then I try to fabricate a track around it, bascially from nothing. You have a model to which you then tailor a nice dress. It’s a classical producer thing: guy sits in the studio, singer comes by. Or you meet Thomas Anders [singer of German europop outfit Modern Talking] at the airport and you record his voice. Later you scan for what might be worth something. I really like the arrangement process. To mix, to administer this whole tracky madness, that’s good.”
The tracks from Amygdala came together over a period of eight years. Which is a long time. How did you compress it into the entity of the album?
“It sounds longer than it is. I’ve been doing a lot during this time: I released two International Pony albums, my remix compilation…I just didn’t release an album under my name. I almost forgot about it. because somehow I didn’t see the niche for it. Until two years ago. But I didn’t have a clear vision when doing this album. I only came to understand the vision in retrospect.”

“Goats should be roaming freely about. It feels cozy.”

And what kind of vision is this?
“When I listen to it now, the music represents my little utopia of electronic music kept within certain bounds, though I would say it’s pretty limitless. It crosses various genres and tempi. On the other hand, everything I don’t do defines my sound much better. I do digest a lot of Zeitgeist sounds, but the final product emerges differently out of my meat grinder. I try to attain some sort of timelessness. I’m interested in colour, in warmth, oranic sounds and always a good measure of soul. That’s what I’m hearing right now. It feels stringent in its multifacetedness.”
I find the album hippie-esque.
“I think this is a fantastic connotation. I dig everything that’s hippie-like in electronic dance music. And all the possible influences that don’t reflect the puristical idea of Detroit techno or Chicago house, even though that’s where my heart lies. But at a certain point you can no longer hear these always-same-sounding deep house chords. They no longer trigger any feeling with me. They’re abgefrühstückt, fobbed-off really. That’s why I’m always looking for new sounds, new worlds of emotions you can discover. Which is also tricky, because you can get off on the wrong foot because some tracks extinguish the flow of the night. I try to bring melanchola into it, a bit of sadness. That’s what I find worth striving for. A mixture between euphoria and sadness (laughs).
I have to confess that you’re actually the only DJ who has ever moved me to tears…
“I think it’s great when you can create sadness on the dancefloor. Especially towards the end of the night where you play more emotional stuff. Everything thrown into the mix constiutes a fine fabric of elements, everything is so closely intertwined during a club night. Excess. Happiness. Unity. Loneliness. Or sadness. Those are the impulses. But it’s different for everyone. Probably the guy standing next to you was holding up his mobile phone to take a picture and was thinking faster, faster, faster. You know?”
Your DJ sets really have gotten more melancholic and calm in recent years. 
“I think club music is about more than just playing effect-driven stuff. It doesn’t have to rock, it doesn’t have to promote macho decibel loudness. I don’t take pleasure in the rocking idea of techno. I’m turned on by melancholy. When people get together, and you develop a deep, hypnotic vibe, and no one can exactly say why that is so, because it’s not as obvious as playing a functional drum roll or a rave signal. That way it’s much more magical and lasting. Ricardo [Villalobos] once remarked that he loves melancholic music, because this really makes him feel happiness. And he’s right. I don’t need happiness all night long while playing, it gets too flat. And it’s not that I play solemnly all the time. There’s the energy combined from a lot of people, there’s excess in the room. This is something this music can achieve. Rock can’t do that – it’s effect. Or hip-hop which is body and groove but often lacks depth. And why don’t you bring out the most in music that you can? Yeah, I used to play differently. All the hands had to go up in the air. Nowadays I find this rather dull. I’m working at a different building site.”
You’ve been fulminating against this notion of functionally banging techhouse for some time now. Has it gotten easier now to play the way you do it, more experimentally? 
“Yes, I think so. But if you wobble around the whole time, then the idea of free music no longer makes sense. If you have a vision, and deliver it in a convincing and conclusive way, then the club will open up to you. The punters will probably know a song, maybe three hits, but it’s not the individual tracks that are the star, it’s the long groove, the fabric weaved together over hours. The vibe, the vibe. Yes, I think the appreciation for experiments has grown. You don’t have to operate with a rave hammer on the dancefloor. It can be smooth, soft, slow, and people have come to accept it. It doesn’t work in the big room yet. The bigger the room, the simpler the language. But in small clubs it’s going fairly well.”
It can be intimate in small clubs, but doesn’t it get too much for you sometimes, with your tendency towards anxiety? Last time I saw Ricardo Villalobos play he was properly smothered by well-wishers.
“I believe it’s a different thing with Ricardo. I admire the sleekness with which he slides through this whole mass hysteria, how cool he stays. I think he’s actually the nicest guy wearing sunglasses in closed rooms. Usually I don’t sympathize at all with those guys. But it totally makes sense with him. Wearing sunglasses like a shield. I mean people walk all around his dj booth and stumble over his crate, but he’s always so gentle. I’m completely different (laughs). I radiate something much less peaceful when I step into the booth with a sour look on my face.”
But you will then gladly try to achieve unity on the dancefloor…
“I’m always happy when this situation of melting, of amalgamation happens with the audience. Really, a state of emergency is the best for me. The moment when the guests can bring their cows and goats onto the dancefloor. That would be the most beautiful thing.” (laughs) - www.factmag.com/
koze110209
Stefan Kozalla aka DJ Koze aka Monaco Schranze lives and works in Hamburg as a club DJ, musician (International Pony, Adolf Noise) and remixer for Chicks On Speed, Bob Sinclar, Justus Koehncke and more of the finest German bands and projects and successful producer and Kompakt recording artist.
Although DJ Koze has had a taste of pop success with his band Fischmob (straight-up Hip Hop skills, poiltical content, dry humor, crazy spoken samples, prank phone calls, etc… ), he’s always been equally interested in experimenting with other forms of electronic music from ambient to break beats to wild sound collages from a myriad of musical genres.
An especially notable voyage in to uncharted musical waters, Adolf Noise (produced and performed by DJ Koze and his buddy Marcnesium) turned many a head around. Taking the artist into a deeper Electronic direction, “Adolf Noise“ features a far more abstract and unusual use of samples and grooves while keeping the listener on his / her toes by incorporating liberal usage of football commentary, television show snippets, radio plays, and telephone terror with drug-delinquents.
It was this record, that made people, that were normally more into Techno or Electronica, sit up and take notice and it is now these people who are his biggest fans on dance floors between Tokyo and Hamburg - a development of successfully melting a world of musical styles with the power-blending strength of Club Culture.
The year 2002 made DJ Koze the deck wizard of Hamburg trio International Pony, whose debut album ‘We Love Music’ (Skint/Sony) was received to critical acclaim. - www.last.fm/

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