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Amygdala
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  • Titled after a region within the brain that is connected to fear and pleasure, Stefan Kozalla's second proper DJ Koze album follows his first one by eight years. Each successive release that trailed Kosi Comes Around -- including singles for Kompakt, Philpot, and his own Pampa, as well as remixes anthologized on 2009's Reincarnations -- amplified Kozalla's reputation for consistency despite his lawless approach to techno. Amygdala should continue the streak. He involves a broad variety of collaborators, most of whom contribute vocals. While that signifies a shortage of ideas for most other producers, the album is more daring and creative than Kosi Comes Around, a straightforward offering in a comparative sense. On "Homesick," Ada channels Kirsty MacColl over a wistful hip-hop production that threatens to shift into rowdy go-go with its assortment of percussion. Milosh's feather-light voice complements the title track, one of Koze's most sensitive, least complicated productions (but watch out for those darting, swarming FX). And yet, despite containing one of Matthew Dear's most polarizing, verging on grotesque vocal performances, the gleefully clomping "Magical Boy" vies for the most touching song. Some of the voices are sampled, irreverently pushed, pulled, stretched, and squeezed into amusing but never extraneous sounds. For a graceful if scuffy, relatively steady transformation of "Ich Schreib' Dir ein Buch" (Rodgers & Hart's "I Could Write a Book"), Hildegard Knef unwittingly gets a duet partner in Marvin Gaye, who is extracted from Tammi Terrell, replicated several times over, and seemingly flicked off the mountain. Gaye also gets it on with Phantom/Ghost's Dirk von Lowtzow on the lullaby-like "Das Wort," but is left untreated. Koze would be considered a belligerent prankster if he didn't display the same irreverence toward his own creations. He adds frilly ornamentation -- sprightly mallets, daffy strings -- to stern rhythms and ominous textures, rubberizes everything, and makes it sound natural and elegant. Jolly guitar noodling prances above the album's deepest, darkest bass. Dear reappears on "My Plans," in which he lucidly intones, over a disorienting cluster of slow-motion rhythms and vocals, "When I notice the world is falling apart, I will run a bath." Yes, Louie, you are leaving your body. ~ Andy Kellman
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.73) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith wildly eccentric detailing: ADHD hip-hop jump-cuts, sneaky melodies, oddball instrumentation, warped vocals and more."

Q (Magazine) (p.105) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "AMYGDALA is the sort of wonderfully slowed-down and spun-out electronica that suggest DJ Koze should get himself into the studio more often."
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