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: 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: 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: Ah, it's finally the summer and where would we be without a DJ Koze record to accompany those long, open-air parties? The title track is a lush, string-filled affair that chugs along slowly. It's made all the more trippy by a female vocal whose narrative begins with the claim that 'everyone is experimenting with ecstasy' and who goes on to talk about lies and meditation. If that sounds too cosmic for you, then we recommend that you check out "Knee on Belly". It could be the German artist's version of '90s disco house, but realized against a gentle minimal house backdrop.
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: Pampa have called in the big guns for on this second installment of the DJ Koze Amygdala Remixes series, with Roman Flugel and Robag Wruhme providing two typically intoxicating revisions. Flugel steps up first, delivering a dreamy, lucid and melodic take on "Amygdala" built around restless cymbals and liquid house rhythms. While hardly tropical, the melodies and chords certainly doff a cap to classic 1980s new age recordings. Wruhme reworks "Nices Wolkchen", delivering a typically loose, atmospheric and engaging tech-house interpretation that seems to float from the speakers. It makes an already beautiful track almost implausibly wide-eyed.
Review: When Kosi Comes Around originally dropped back in 2005 on Kompakt, it was a seismic blast in the minimal scene it was borne unto. As that genre got resigned to the back of the shelf in favour of more traditional house and techno, so this album may have been overlooked somewhat, but time can be a great healer. With a fresh perspective and a loving reissue on his own Pampa, DJ Koze returns to his magnum opus and proves the music has strength and weatherproofing far beyond the winds of hype. With an arresting use of melodic elements and a mind-bending focus on micro-detail in the rhythmic arrangements, Kosi Comes Around sounds as shocking and inspiring today as it did when it first came out.
Review: German veteran DJ Koze impressed earlier this year with the Amygdala album, his fourth in total. Here, Pampa presents the first of what we assume will be a series of remix EPs. Excitingly, there's a rare remix from Matthew Herbert, who weighs in with a superb version of vocal cut "Magical Boy". His version, built around typically swinging drums and unlikely percussion samples, is deliciously sweet, wrapping the sublime vocal in sampled jazz horns, bubbling electronic bass and atmospheric chords. Efdemin provides a really rather lovely, ultra-deep house version of album highlight "La Duquesa" (thinking touchy-feely Rhodes, atmospheric strings and evocative electronics), before Koze's own instrumental of "Magical Boy" completes an excellent package.
Review: Following up 2013's well received Amygdala LP, DJ Koze returns with his fifth studio album for his esteemed Pampa imprint. The Flensburg native (by way of Hamburg and Berlin) teams up with a varied cast to support him on this eclectic yet captivating collection of tracks. From lead single "Illumination" featuring Irish chanteuse Roisin Murphy of Moloko, the typically woozy and esoteric take on deep house as heard on the Bon Iver sampling "Bonfire" or the evocative ambient pop of "Muddy Funster" (featuring Kurt Wagner of alt-country outfit Lambchop) and even a bit of urban flavour as heard on "Colors Of Autumn" featuring Speech of American R&B group Arrested Development. The German producer turns in a strong effort that blurs the boundaries between pop and underground music styles - with a distinct flair and sense of ease.
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.
Review: For his first release on Pampa for some two years, DJ Koze is in a decidedly Balearic mood. For proof, check opener "Seeing Aliens", where drowsy acoustic guitar loops and gentle piano riffs wrap themselves around a hazy, sunrise-friendly deep house beat. This glassy-eyed mood is prevalent on the accompanying "Extended Breakthrough Listen" version, too, which builds slowly via a moodier and more bass-heavy section, rich in glitchy electronics, before blossoming into the familiar Balearic deep house groove. Bonus cut "Nein Konig Nein" has a similar feel, even though it's built around gentle Afro-house drums, fizzing tech-house electronics and a drowsy vocal sample.
Review: When it comes to crafting lengthy, disco fired dancefloor treats, DJ Koze has previous form. His "Extended Disco Version" of Lapsley's "Operator" quickly became a White Isle anthem in the summer of 2016, and we fully expect "Pick Up" to be one of the disco-house hits of 2018. Based around spine-tingling samples from a heart-felt, orchestrated 1970s disco treat - think Tom Trago's "Use Me Again", and you're close - the veteran producer slowly builds the pressure before really letting loose in the closing stages. Then "The Love Truck" is an altogether deeper, dubbier and dreamier affair, seemingly designed for leisurely warm-up sets and gentle, early morning shuffling.