Review: Remix compilations can be a little hit-and-miss, but this one - gathering together five years of eccentric and often inspired reinterpretations from German veteran DJ Koze - is anything but. Koze often saves his best work for the remix domain, delivering imaginative reworks that take the original material into surprising new places. So, Herbert's "If Only" is turned into a sparse chunk of atmosphere-rich late night deep house, Caribou's "Found Out" is blessed with a new sense of wonky, left-of-centre purpose, and Zwanie Johnson's "Golden Song" is given a decidedly Balearic, beatless makeover. Highlights are plentiful, with Koze's dubby, low-slung afro-jazz reinterpretation of Soap & Skin's "Marche Funebre" standing out.
Review: Hamburg Elektronisch is the ultimate ode to the German harbour city's rich musical scene and heritage. A massive compilation comprised of a whopping thirty tracks by the city's legends (Boris Dlugosch, Lawrence, DJ Koze) and young guns (Tilman Tausendfreund, Joney, RSS Disco) alike. There's just so much great music on here but for our money, our picks are Christopher Rau with his sensual and ultra deep "RG En El Casa", Dial affiliate RVDS with the sexy late night groove of "Catwalk", local heroes Smallpeople on "Cricket Orchestra" (ultra deep, this one!) and the undisputed master of the dark journey track Oliver Huntemann with his comeback track "Kiez" that shows us that long before Tale Of Us or Mind Against: it was all about this guy!
Review: More dusty yet sun-drenched happy house from Stockholm's Studio Barnhus, presenting their first ever label compilation. Volym 1 is curated by label bosses Axel Boman, Kornel Kovacs and Petter Nordkvist - who serve up some deep and joyous cuts from some label staples and newcomers alike. Or, in the words of the label: a mix of "Stockholm newcomers and superstar friends." Highlights on this fine collection of pop-inflected hybrids not limited to: wunderkind Baba Stiltz's lo-slung weirdo-pop displayed on "L.O.V.E.", co-chief Kovacs' emotive journey into the deep "On Roofs", Hamburg veteran DJ Koze with his inimitable style displayed yet again on "Hawaiian Souldier" and Catalan hero John Talabot doing what he does oh so well on the balearic house epic "The Change".
Review: Some DJs use the opportunity of a DJ Kicks mix to showcase the eclectic nature of their record collections, while others see it as a chance to give an airing to the dancefloor records that have inspired them over the years. Seth Troxler's selection sits somewhere in between. On the one hand, there are impeccable jazz and downtempo moments from the likes of Sun Ra, Herbert (as remixed by Phil Parnell) and DJ Koze, whose "Bodenweich" is an undeniably atmospheric, off-kilter delight. On the other hand, Troxler has picked out some genuinely brilliant, mostly US-centric house selections; deep, soulful and bumpin' fare from the likes of Butch, Kerri Chandler, Jasper Street Company, Mood II Swing and Derrick Carter.
Review: Pampa offshoot Hart & Tief launched earlier in the year, via a split EP featuring tracks by Soulphiction and Mike Denhert. This time round, fellow German producers DJ Koze and Robag Wruhme are at the controls. Koze kicks things off with "Driven", a clanking, booty-shaking fusion of metallic percussion hits, resonating electronics, dub techno motifs, and minimalist textures. It feels a little like a contemporary Berlin take on early '90s Sheffield "clonk" (think Sweet Exorcist's Clonk's Coming album on Warp), which is no bad thing in our book. Wruhme's "X-mop 198" is a much more straightforward, early morning techno bubbler, albeit with similarly clanking percussion hits amongst the thumping kick drums and restless, one-note riffs.
Review: Hamburg's Stefan Kozalla aka DJ Koze returns in 2018 with his new opus entitled Knock Knock on his Pampa imprint - which exists outside of trend and influence. An unholy mixture of techno with disco, soul, hip hop and psychedelia - there are even wafts of easy listening and indie rock. Special guests include Bon Iver, Speech from Arrested Development, Kurt Wagner of Lambchop, Pampa's very own Sophia Kennedy and the fine vocal talents of Jose Gonzalez. The first single taken from the album is "Illumination" which features the inimitable Roisin Murphy from Moloko. A lo-slung, deep and soulful journey featuring subtle filtered disco house elements and it's very stylish indeed.