If you’re someone who still secretly or not-so-secretly thinks remixes are just accessories to the originals, I encourage you to listen to any of the raw material for DJ Koze’s Reincarnations Pt. 2. Koze doesn’t just move around what’s already there, but takes some small portion or impulse within a song and creates an entirely new context for it. Usually, the new context brings out a quality or shade in the music only hinted at by the original, hence the word “reincarnation”: The body is new but the soul is still the same. A Koze remix of a meatball might be a hamburger; his remix of a horse might be a car.
Koze is playful, which is nice because most of the artists he works with are not. Witness Ada’s “Faith”, a modest ballad sung by a choir of androids too tired to care anymore. In Koze’s hands, it becomes a starlit torch song in some Palm Springs lounge; the androids still melancholy but now played for their sex appeal, too. Or Herbert’s “You Saw It All”, which appears here as a Motown-style love letter that breaks into a clarinet solo played by someone who may not have ever played a clarinet before. (My favorite Koze remix is still of Matthew Dear’s “Elementary Lover”, which places a stern Germanic orator in the middle of what sounds like Club Med.)
These are gestures that understand and dignify the source material but don’t let it restrict them. Often, Koze seems like a boy pirouetting through the museum, ornamenting treasures of antiquity with handlebar mustaches and tiny yellow birds. Even when his music isn’t outright funny, there is something about it that feels casual and loose, allowing stray beauty at the margins of the track—a breath, a syllable—to blossom into a central hook. I still don’t know whether to pronounce his name DJ Cot-zuh or DJ Cozy, and my guess is that the ambiguity is intentional.
Reincarnations Pt. 2 collects his last six years; the first volume collected 2001–2009. Both are strong, though the highlights on the first edition—”Elementary Lover” or Battles’ “Atlas”—are a little brighter. Like Todd Terje, Koze is a Northern European prankster who built his reputation on remixes but whose own music gets better every time he decides to make it. Last year, he put out Amygdala, an album that had more to do with the history of psychedelic pop than with techno in the same way Terje’s It’s Album Time had more to do with film music and exotica than disco. If you have never heard Koze, start there. His is a low-key beautiful world, governed by bright colors, round shapes, and a gentleness that can seem meek but more often just seems like the byproduct of wonder. “It is fairly easy to rock the house,” he told an interviewer in 2008, “but so hard to look out of the window.”
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1xVXjOU