June Album: DJ Koze – Knock Knock

DJ Koze has over recent memory won hearts of the vast majority of dance music fans through his releases on his own label Pampa Records as well as  remixes such as Lapsley’s ‘Operator’ which was hands down last summers most played dance record. Intriguingly he’s done all this whilst keeping very much to himself and keeping up the reputation of dance music’s most recluse character. On a personal note I came across Pampa Records about 7 years ago and was instantly hooked, my love over DJ Koze naturally aligned with this.  Pampa and more specific Koze has always had the ability to find something wonderful in the weird and make things work that shouldn’t. His approach is fresh yet familiar.

Keeping all of the above in mind I approached this album sceptically. Long players are tough in dance music and there have been few that have pulled it off. The lead single ‘Pick Up’ is a born winner, perhaps the anthem of the summer, but where do you go from there I kept in asking myself?  

In short my approach was wrong. This isn’t a dance album. This is an album. This is a well thought out journey into the mind of Koze and friends. He has assembled a strong cast of guest vocalist that range from Jose Gonzales, Speech from Arrested Development and Roisin Murphy to name a few. Sure there is an over all 4/4 pace, and he delves into his techno and house background on tracks but seems to hold it to a level that there is a presence but it doesn’t take over. 

Arguably there are more elements of Hip Hop, which makes sense as the few interviews that I have read about the recluse DJ Koze is that his roots firmly sit in this genre. I think this sits more on the side of heavy sampling and making something out of nothing.  

1 month into this album I’m discovering new pieces to what is a complex collection of songs that each hold there own but majestically sit very well together.  

I hope you all enjoy this as much as me. I find it has been a welcome friend with a gin and tonic in hand outside on an evening and also when I’m getting the kids ready for school in the morning.

6 comments

  1. misterstory

    So. I have a long standing issue with DJ / producer artist albums. I prize the presentation of consistent / congruent body of work amongst most things in an album. I chose an album for a mood. If I feel X they I play Y because Y either validates that feeling or brings me out of that feeling. My challenge with these sorts of albums is the lack of congruence. They always feel like a bag of spanners … or perhaps a bag of random different tools! Sometimes they feel like a bag of spanners with a couple of screwdrivers that don’t fit. This one probably feels more like the latter. Hang on … got to join a webex – feck

      • misterstory

        So what I am trying to say is that i often I feel that these albums don’t hang together, include what feels like filler or just contain too many different ideas to suit a singular mood. I understand that this is my problem and I go into most of these albums filtering for evidence to support my stance so am just being honest.

        This is by no means the worst example and has moments of pure, unadulterated beauty. I could listen to at least 4 of the tracks on repeat for hours. But I have a big problem with at least one track that I can see myself skipping every time.

        Early days. Mostly positive. Feels a little disjointed in places. The highs are so high. The lows are annoying.

  2. whyohwhyohwhy

    Interesting choice brother Nolan. I’m not nearly as close to Koze’s work as you are, but also I do love a lot of the stuff he does. But I come to an album of his pretty cold, and I’m not sure what to make of it. I’ll say I expected this would a ‘dancefloor’ album, but I guess I didn’t think that would wash for AOTM, so it’s good it’s not that.

    I’m not sure off a first listen, but there are some standouts – Roisin Murphy stands out on everything she does – but there are some tracks that land less solidly for me, and it’s a very long album. It does feel longer than I need to keep me interested. But, it’s early days and his production skills are not in doubt. I see brother Joseph’s points here, clearly, and I say that as a huge electronic music fan.

    Let’s see where we go brothers….

  3. David Allison

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to get involved.
    So. I am REALLY enjoying this album. I agree with all the caveats – it’s uneven, and it is DEFINITELY too long, and loses its way at the end. Boy, he needs a bit more self-editing. But the ideas! The creativity! The diversity of songs! It’s so much fun.

    I bought an early DJ Koze album (Kosi Comes Around) and I never got on with it – way too pure house for me. That was a quite a long time ago, but I was expecting something more purist and generic than this. This is a dance music album that’s outward looking, wanting to please its audience. And like most of the best dance music albums, it’s a mixed bag of genres that means it’s (almost) never a dull listen.

    How original is it? Well, not hugely. Does it matter? Not terribly. It feels like a “Best of” of every dance album I’ve liked in the last 15 years. Ooh, this one’s like Daft Punk. That one’s a bit Royksopp. And more than anything, the album it reminds me of most is Etienne de Crecy’s Super Discount. That is one massive compliment, because that record is a work of genius and a genuine gamechanger. This album is nothing like as original as that, but I love that woozy, wonky, leftfield house with a disco thing that the French do so well: Bob Sinclar, Etienne de Crecy, Justice, Supermen Lovers.

    I guess it’s “Balaeric” in the true sense, in that it’s a very musically open album, happy to take on all kinds of influences and way more than just a dance album. The Jose Gonzalez track, Music on my Teeth, is more like an old 70s West Coast yacht rock tune.
    Must also add that, as Guy says, Roisin Murphy is a goddess, and everything she does is just gold. She is surely one of the most interesting artists ever to have come out of dance music – she seems to turn it into something much greater than four to the floor.

    So yes. A great addition to summertime listening. An album I can just stick on and think – yes, the tunes are here, let’s crack open a beer. Which is exactly what I’m going to do now…

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