Profound, jokes and illustrious guests on the microphone: DJ Koze and his monumental new dancefloor album "Amygdala".
Likes to drink Spanish Espelt wine: DJ Koze. Image: Promo
It’s been ages since DJ Koze released an album. Eight years had to pass until the new work "Amygdala". But in return, this sound monument has turned out to be captivating in every fiber. Just as the amygdala in the center designates a core area of the human brain, the Hamburg electronic producer roams through all the ramifications of his curly thought cosmos with the thirteen tracks.
To Balinese gamelan sounds he climbs through the foliage of tropical trees, in a sharply honed house track it drives him straight into the dark corner of the dance floor, and delicate strings let him fall into the arms of the aged Duchess of Alba.
"A masterpiece," says Koze, not at all modestly, his new work has become, "of beastly outstanding quality." An illustrious crowd of guests has gathered to knit along on "Amygdala": among them Apparat, Dirk von Lowtzow and Ada. They sing what their throats give. "I felt like opening up. But at the same time, I’m a determiner, so the guests should let off steam at the microphone while I flesh out the music."
Originated "Amygdala" for the most part in a fishing village in the northern Spanish Galicia. There, where the days are determined only by winds from the mountains or from the sea, Koze retreated. Always accompanied by a bottle of Espelt, the "exquisite Catalan wine", he cut the vocal tracks to size, underlaid them with ever new layers of sound and collaged sound snippets. Whether it’s finely nuanced electronic pop, smoother house or grumpy techno, the signature is always marked with Koze’s unmistakably funky signature.
Stepped into the well
"The whole thing could only work out because I was living the life of a hermit. I had to get into the well so that everything around it would disappear." Stefan Kozalla became known in the guise of the klamaukigen boy: a decidedly punky free spirit at the DJ booth. The stage names Monaco Schranze or Adolf Noise also indicate that someone doesn’t want to take things so seriously. In 2001, together with Max Goldt, he caricatured the battle culture in hip-hop with "Deine Reime sind Schweine. Rumor has it that he now paints cute donkeys on large canvases.
With his silly but sophisticated humor, Koze joins the Hamburg music scene from Jaques Palminger to Erobique. The former once left an invitation on his answering machine to an officers’ meeting with a drink, which DJ Koze directly processed on his last album "Music is okay". In a trio with Erobique and Cosmic DJ, Koze released the two mainstream-compatible albums "We love Music" (2002) and "Mit Dir sind wir vier" (2006) under the name International Pony.
The fact that he originally started out in hip-hop and played in the Flensburg formation Fischmob in the nineties is still evident today in the unkempt attitude of his dancefloor music and the smart wordplay of the track titles. "Nices Wolkchen" and "Dont loose My Mind" are the names of two song titles on the new album.
Unconventional female characters
"Amygdala", however, has become a musically profound work despite or perhaps because of the fun factor. Koze brings idiosyncratic female figures to light on it. Once again he dedicates himself to Hildegard Knef. From original recordings of her he cut the song "I’ll write you a book". Koze’s affection for the Duchess of Alba, this gruesome old woman "with the voice of a saw," is expressed in the breathy house track "La Duquesa." He titles the album’s most massive, minimal part "Marilyn Whirlwind," like the role name of a "wise, gentle" U.S. Indian woman from the TV series "Northern Exposure."
Cologne techno producer Ada sings a beautifully airy melody over an RnB-ish track. Dirk von Lowtzow again contributes ironically with his soft-sonorous voice. Accompanied by fat-dripping beats, the Tocotronic singer muses dryly about love as usual. "Dirk’s vocal recording, recognizable by the date of the file, were saved at 9:03. He drank coffee at seven, went to the studio at eight and at nine he was done. I wasn’t even asleep at that point. That impressed me. My main creative time is at night. Only then do the blues come. And even then I don’t know if the muse really kisses me."
"Amygdala" will be released only after a 17-month delay. Perhaps the muse may have hesitated a bit. But for this epic she kissed Stefan Kozalla then after all.