Kosi Comes Around
ivisions dissolve, and we come again to the grab-bag truth that our only valid conception of music is really what we like now, what we come across through words such as these, and what we continue to push towards when we’ve half-digested that past. It’s an old story, and one increasingly prone to being taken from granted. But with the proliferation of techno and house music in the minds of us just this far skewed of mainstream, and the increasing obliteration of any definition of terms related to all of the above, sometimes we have to look back to give our current selves size.
Kompakt seems to be going through such an evolution. In a year that’s seen the notorious label continue to move away from its trademark schaffel with off-the-beat releases by The Orb and Markus Guentner and the tight disco of Justus Köhncke, DJ Koze’s Kosi Comes Around may well be the label’s most idiosyncratic offering. Known largely for the femur crush of his Brutalga Square 12” (which is included here) and his erratic All People Is My Friends mix on Kompakt last year, perhaps it comes as no surprise that this self-categorized house producer would unveil an album of such bewildering riches. Each track here hovers in its own increasingly fragmented space of house music, from the aerial slide of intro “Estella” to the clobbering groove of “Raw.”
On the geek-carnival side of things, “Barock AM Ring” is slick 70’s AM Radio rock dissected and reconstructed into a grotesque slab of Matmosian digi-tech. Built around a glowing electric piano part, manipulated to sound almost like chimes, the track pulls back the reins on the album’s move towards the dance-floor, and does so in a way that compels as much as it soothes. Likewise, “My Grandmotha” augments a tap-dance beat with two-part tones and repeated vocal samples, stretched to the point of withdrawal.
Of course, there’s plenty of sweat and tangle, highlighted by the aforementioned “Brutalga Square.” Many of you will recognize Koze’s infamous madhouse flail, but for those still unfamiliar with the cut, subtle static pulses seethe under the sound of the condemned flailing his chained limbs to the rave in the square. As the drones gain in strength, the chains fade out, and Koze raises the beat above the rest before bringing all its distant parts to clamor. It’s a mastery of techno’s build and burst, and an undeniable classic.
At times though, DJ Koze’s eccentricities pull you out of the album’s progression. Closer “Chiminea,” with its acoustic guitar and Sunday Morning piano, is too billowy to follow on “Brutalga”’s heels. As such, Kosi Comes Around sometimes feels like a record constructed from the trials and joys of nine separate months, thirty days’ worth of slipping and sliding summoned into an expression seven minutes’ deep. January is forgotten by the greening of May and its warming soil, and snow and sandroads a dream’s past. But each leaves its stain on the next, and at year’s end, you have them all in front of you again behind, a new pattern of separate splotches. Kosi Comes Around is that year’s passage, extreme to lull, and all worth remembering fondly as part of what you are now.