Wednesday, July 8, 2009

stefan 'koze' kozalla

DJ Koze has a real name and it is Stefan Kozalla. He's from Hamburg (here's his studio) which is a point of difference in itself within the context of German electroid music. That is: not Cologne or Frankfurt or Berlin. To me he's the Ricardo Villalobos of Germany in that mnml is merely the start point for startling explorations into house music. It's as if he's seized on the opportunity to use something bare and skeletal and keep it bare and skeletal but water-coloured with microscopic little flourishes and twirls and curtseys and tiny drills and silent bleeps, distant beeps.

I'd heard the odd tune of his on a few of the Kompakt Total kompiles and he has three albums now but the latest - Reincarnations - is remixes done between 2001 and now and I'm giving you six. Blissblog says he has "atomised" mnml into a "fragrant cloud of texture droplets" and I love that and the atomised thing is true because Koze seems to explode all notions of house music here, like Villalobos does, like Moodyman does, like Kenny Larkin did, not through abstractions and extremities but by actually sticking to the point of house music, sticking to its ideas and its rules, but microscopically attending to those rules and making every note accountable and deeply musical. Thus Koze stays close to the dancefloor, closer than Villalobos, and closer than Kompakt, yet in interviews talks in a humble, detached way of being bemused by the Villalobos idea of playing records at 4pm, 16 hours into a four-day party cycle. Koze says by then the "people are morphing into monsters" and he can't relate to that. He says the German techno tyranny is boring and depressing because it's always the same yet hip-hop, where he came from, DJing at DMC comps in the late 80's, is great because it never leaves him sad and lonely.

In his remixes he bursts other people's house and techno and mnml free from their structures in tiny ways: the Blagger track here is about Chicago with that jack-grunt but Koze's drums are soft-bombs around the jazz chords and the vocal, which is crying and desolate, '88-style: Adonis, Marshall Jefferson, Frankie Knuckles. Naked is more your Moodyman idea of layer upon layer upon layer of Prince and super-magnified sounds of a human breathing and, again, Chicago acidhouse right down beneath, submerged. T A P E decreed his incredible and witty, wise re-rub of Matias Aguayo's Minimal as one of the best remixes of 2008, amongst a whole bunch of dubstep. Dans Avec Moi has Dani Siciliano on it and that's crucial because she was Herbert's singer and again has her diamond-life voice recontextualised and re-jazzed and laid totally, beautifully bare like the oldest idea in the world by a master micro-house producer at the absolute top of his game.

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