DJ Koze- Amygdala
Read about why DJ Koze is catching the attention of ears worldwide below, originally published on Pop ‘stache:
German producer DJ Koze (Stephan Kozalla) delivers an extraordinary self-reinvention with Amygdala, the March 2013 release named after the part of the brain where memory, learning, and fear develop. In Kozalla’s first solo release in nine years (2009’s compilation of remixes, Reincarnations, aside), he creates a quirky, melodious techno product. Most importantly though, its positive reception stateside represents an important bridge in the gap between reputable, European techno and America’s younger, safer style.
DJ Koze’s exploratory ambiance can be likened to The Books, Caribou, or Prefuse 73. “Don’t Lose My Mind” touches on trip-hop riffs and foley-scattered sounds to build a melody into something much sexier than its individual components.
Tech-house layers are softened by guest vocals and tame repetitions. “Homesick” is an accessible mid-album track, as is the beautifully orchestrated, bass-mongering happy tune “Nices Wölkchen” (feat. Apparat).
Possibly the best track and most active fusion of style on the album is the opener, “Track ID Anyone?” Ramblings in the intro describe the onset of a drug, continuing into clean, curious, Caribou-produced sounds and vocals that induce a twisted sense of positivity. Its freshness makes for a successful, exciting introduction to Koze’s newest cross-Atlantic adventure. A whirlwind of guests—Caribou Matthew Dear, Apparat, Milosh—add warmth and relevance to the sound, affirming Koze’s stateside visibility.
Previous Kozalla projects stretch over 20 years back, and include electro-pop act International Pony and his slightly less radio-friendly handle, Adolf Noise. He has strong roots in hip hop (listen to his very ’90s trio Fischmob) and ambient productions, which can be heard in the delayed beat patterns and backdrop styles of Amygdala’s “Das Wort” and “My Plans.” Although predominantly techno tracks are kept to a conscious minimum, they can be found in “La Duquesa” and “Royal Asscher Cut,” as well as sewn delicately throughout Amygdala’s bulk of softly psychedelic sound.
This album is most importantly striking in that it majorly builds on the bridge between European techno and American mainstream electronic. There is a great divide between the fans of the two styles. European-prevalent tech-house hates on American EDM trends for indulgence, hastily mislabeled dubstep and Top 40 remixes. American artists scoff at European snobbery and claim a successfully evolved grasp on electronic music. This debate is full of active and passionate members, unable to release their quality complexes within a surprisingly proud genre of fans.
DJ Koze brings a German house sound to the charts with Amygdala, stapling accessible American electronic styles with untainted European techno. This is both apparent and exciting for electronic followers, possibly lifting a glance at a beautiful marriage between competing styles.