Following reworks by Matthew Herbert and Efdemin, the second shift crew of Roman Flügel and Robag Wruhme continue to wring magic from DJ Koze’s originals at the same high caliber as their predecessors.
For our last year-end list, LWE’s staff have selected and highlighted our top 10 albums of 2013. With this we begin a well-earned break and will return to our regular publication schedule on January 6th, 2014.
As May rolls around each year, many dance music fans in America and around the world instinctively reach for their wallets and begin making preparations for Detroit’s annual electronic music festival, Movement.
With so much to choose from, LWE has decided to reprise last year’s popular festival guide. Because the daily schedule has not yet been released we’re breaking things down by stage, so at least you’ll know where to be to see these incredible artists at work.
Seasons come, seasons go, and with them Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series, where the label’s clockwork ticks much slower than usual. Not that Pop Ambient’s reliability has never been in question: every time a new installment filters through the opinion-maze of web- and music criticism, someone proclaims it’s not as good as the last one, or the series’ key idea is petering out, or maybe Kompakt should stick to making IKEA techno, or that it’s too much of the same thing, or whatever. Regardless of the occasional arcs in quality (I seem to recall 2006 to 2008 not grabbing my attention quite so strongly), the complaints are a tad confusing. Surely Pop Ambient’s brief is to be “too much of the same thing,” to essay myriad variations on that lovingly hazy, gaseous, oddly catchy, plastic ambient sound they’ve perfected, to take a relatively long time to say relatively the same thing at pretty much exactly the same time of year?
It’s astonishing to think Kompakt is a mere ten years old. The shadow they have cast over the contemporary house and techno scene, not least through their distribution, never mind label releases, is gigantic. For younger DJs and fans, it’s hard to think of a world without the dotted imprint. Their Total series is a case in point: a summer without the compilation and accompanying party is difficult to contemplate. For casual fans, the CD issue offers the opportunity to catch up on the year’s hits, while the double, and now triple vinyl packs satisfy DJs with exclusives cuts and some venerable smashes of their own (Superpitcher’s “Mushroom,” DJ Koze’s “Mariposa,” and Jürgen Paape’s “So Weit Wie Noch Nie” for starters). They also illustrate the broad taste of the Kompakt collective, with tracks ranging from campy electro pop (Justus Köhncke, most likely) to teeth-grindingly hard techno (step forward Reinhard Voigt). This eclecticism is both Kompakt’s greatest strength and their weakness. Their determined and democratic stance that if any one of the label heads (Michael Mayer, Paape and Wolfgang Voigt) likes a track enough they will release it, means occasionally real stinkers can slip through the door that ruin things for everyone. Throughout Total 10, the suspicion that this hardly stringent quality control is set to an all time low is hard to shift. When Total 10 is bad, it is very bad. And when it is good, it is still far from producing any classics to rival those listed above.
Back in the summer of 2007, Chris Mann began his review of the Soul Jazz Box of Dub with the following statement: “Most compilations are like group photos: someone always has their eyes closed.” I find this usually tends to be true, and never more so than on Mule Electronic’s Enjoy The Silence Vol. 1. This collection of ambient music by house and techno producers ranges from excellent to completely boring, with typically impressive names falling into both camps. All in all, it is a pretty dull release, despite a few strong moments.
Stefan Kozalla has been on a roll for an unnaturally long stretch of time in the mercurial dance music community. His particular take on house music is generally full of humor, energy, and some of the most killer earworms in existence, and his first single for 2009 is no exception.
Download: DJ Koze, “The Spitzer Group” DJ Koze treats his fans right. First he has Get Physical corral many of his best remixes onto one CD, and then he entices the eager and skeptical alike with a free, brand new track called “The Spitzer Group.” Setting the scene with a grainy funk break, Koze’s whimsical […]
[International Records Recordings] Well-known but worth repeating: DJ Koze gets to be as weird as he wants. As a solo artist, he might have made his first mark with the solemn chimes of “Brutalga Square” but it’s been a long journey from there. Like his work with International Pony, Koze flourishes when he’s been willfully […]
Chart courtesy of The Economist. 01. Matthew Styles, “We Said Nothing” [Diamonds & Pearls] (buy) So far I’ve managed to look past Matthew Styles despite the sheen of buzz around him, but “We Said Nothing,” the lead cut from an EP of the same name, is utterly impossible to ignore. The dense and flashy percussion […]
For our fifth report, LWE correspondent Colin Shields offers his top 5 singles (from the first half of 2008) that suggest minimal isn’t dead, actually. It’s a familiar story: Life seemed so good in 2006. Minimal, a genre that had simmered along in dance since its conception, had hit the mainstream in a big way. […]