by DJ Koze
An instantly recognizable style is what every artist strives for. But in electronic music, it's as equally important to blend in as to stand out—how else are DJs going to include you in their sets? That's one reason Stefan Kozalla, aka DJ Koze, is so impressive. It's immediately obvious when a track belongs to Koze. He's the king of fizzy, fluttering effects—strings that seem to dissolve into ether, vocals that are tweaked in ways both silly and menacing, instruments that don't so much follow the beat as strut atop it. Yet what connects everything is how restless and full of ideas it all is—he's an inveterate tinkerer, yet almost nothing I've heard of his feels remotely overworked. That's why Reincarnations, a new collection of Koze's remixes, is as compulsively playable and attractively crafted as anyone's "real" album.
Now, Koze is stepping back up with this hotly anticipated 12-inch. Both tracks are superb, but more importantly, they consolidate the best aspects of his last few years' work. "Mrs. Bojangels" pumps with the woozy intensity of last year's "I Want to Sleep," only with phased, trebly percussion at its center rather than a hypnotic bass drum, and its edge-of-seat strings dissolving are reminiscent of the brilliant Koze remix of Matthew Dear that opens Reincarnations. "Dr. Fuck," meanwhile, works simultaneously as a piss-take of Koze's own sound (random percussion sputters, groaning bass drops, alien keyboard plinks) and of the deep-house piety his work instinctively reacts against. In an ominously distorted voice that sounds like it crawled out of a swamp, Koze natters on like a meth-head about deep house, even quoting a couple of the hoariest a cappellas in the DJ firmament ("And house is about a feeling, it's a spiritual thing, understand, man"), before, over the last couple minutes, setting off a bunch of little explosions. It's closer to the original Chicago acid tracks than anything, but it's impossible to imagine anyone else making a record quite like this, then or now.
by Burial and Four Tet
How about that? A collaboration that actually sounds the way you hoped it might, with both partners on what sounds like equal footing. The beat is muted and grainy, Burial-like, while the fuzzy house keyboard riff and gurgling synth drops have Four Tet's mark on them. Yet none of it is something you'd expect from either one on his own. Let's hope there's more than a 12-inch in the works.