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With playful lightheartedness, Wruhme takes synthetic sounds and sampled noises, cuts them to fit, and turns them into beats without his music ever sounding pieced together: every single percussive sound is a compact unit, always bursting with melody, or at least pointing the way towards it. For Venq Tolep, his first album-length release on Pampa Records in eight years, this is exactly where Robag Wruhme chooses to dig deeper, expanding the space of these elements. He finds beats inside the beats, opens them up even further, discovers hooklines and harmonies and feels where he can ultimately dispense with rhythms entirely.

Venq Tolep opens with two melodic, melancholic pieces: “Advent” gets us dancing, while “Westfal” has us lying in the grass amid the buzzing heat and rustling wind, wishing that the summer will never end. We hear the voice of Lysann Zander, with whom Wruhme has worked previously on projects including his album Thora Vukk. Hers is not the only familiar name on this album: Sidsel Endresen and Bugge Wesseltoft have both appeared on releases from Wruhme’s bootleg label (which I would normally not mention, but we’re living in times in which mainstream and club artists see this as anything but negative). Here, they are featured on “Nata Alma,” a laid-back club track. “Iklahx” and “Ak-Do 5” both possess a carefree percussiveness, while “Komalh” and “Ago Lades” prove that when Wruhme talks about techno, he means club music more akin to the elegance of London 2-step, perhaps even fueled by R&B/hip-hop and swingbeat, and far removed from the Belgian-Teutonic bunker sound. “Bézique Atout” is a reinterpretation of “Domino,” a track from French producer Oxia which Wruhme remixed in 2017, stylishly making it his own. Two more familiar tracks are “Volta Copy,” a version of his 2015 hit “Volta Cobby,” minus the beat, but now propelled by arpeggios, and “Ende #2,” like greetings received from around the world in a day, picks up where “Ende” from Thora Vukk leaves off.

Finally, the title track, “Venq Tolep,” draws on all the album’s various movements in 4 minutes and 18 seconds: the light, pensive mood, the subtle, driving rhythm in the mid-BPM range, the ambient-sounding layers of synthesized strings and the percussive electric piano melody lines. The earliest tracks on the album date back seven years, while the newest were recorded in 2019. Yet, you would never guess that from listening. Venq Tolep has such a well-rounded sound. Like an arch unfolding in space. And that, of course, is the universe of Robag Wruhme. Warmth instead of coolness, friendliness instead of distance. But with Venq Tolep, Wruhme creates something even more extraordinary: the album may speak the language of club music, with seemingly familiar soundscapes, layers and arrangements, but the tracks on Venq Tolep boldly verge on feeling like songs. Is it techno pop? Pop techno? Pop ambient? Ambient pop? Let’s just say that Venq Tolep is Robag Wruhme’s first venture into pop music.


FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLP Info: Comes with bonus 7".

Like all DJ Koze records, "Knock Knock" exists outside of trend and influence. In fact, it's a step further beyond: absolutely every single thing here, from grooves to voices to handclaps, is otherworldly and unique. Which is not to say it is utterly alien abstraction, mind. There is still disco, there is still soul, there is still techno, there is still hip hop, there is still psychedelia – there are even wafts of easy listening, lost crackly thriftstore record memories and... sort of... indie rock – but though it may sound familiar, it never does what your brain thinks it's going to do.

Likewise with the voices. More than ever before on Koze's records, there are fascinating, individualist – and well-known – voices throughout "Knock Knock" but again, each of them is rendered strange, drawn into a different reality Bon Iver's ghostly hymnals on “Bonfire” are very recognizably Bon Iver, but the way they twist and merge with synthetic sounds until choir and computer are writhing around one another in bliss are something else. The ever-unique Róisín Murphy, on two stunning tracks, becomes a cyborg funk diva. Speech from Arrested Development delivers luscious and lazy R&B-funk on “Colors of Autumn”, but Koze's warping bass, dubwise echo and alien nature sounds take it to an alternate dimension tropical landscape. Kurt Wagner of Lambchop is a vocoder bohemian, Sophia Kennedy is a sci-fi Weimar cabaret star, José Gonzalez a holographic projection from an old film of South Sea Islands... on it goes, nothing is real, everyone is an inhabitant of Koze-world.

And that's what is crucial here. Koze is a world-maker. You don't get to chose how you hear his music – you enter his world or you don't, that's it. And that's why individual influences, whether it's the trippy German techno that's always rippled through is albums or the beat-scene abstract hip hop that he incorporated into his DJ-Kicks mix in 2015, are all but irrelevant. Though he'd never compare himself to anyone else, Koze only makes sense in the way that other world-builders do, from Bowie to Sun Ra, Outkast to Kate Bush. And Knock Knock is far and away his greatest statement of that. It's an album that came together slowly and steadily, his working processes arcane and mysterious in their steady accumulation of sound and inspiration. It's so complete and bursting with detail and consistency from every micro-second that you'd swear it was meticulously planned – but there was no masterplan, do desire to create a definitive artefact: the record itself decided when it was ready. And now it is ready, the most perfectly constructed portal into that other world, you had better be ready too!


FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLtd LP Info: Double vinyl plus bonus 7".

2xLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

Gliding in on wave of summery shimmer, DJ Koze heads up his own latest 12" on Pampa, just in time for those feel good moments of house hedonism throughout the holiday season. Both "Pick Up" and "The Love Truck" should transport the listener to carefree moments dancing next to big speaker stacks while crepuscular rays shine warmth on face and feet, Joyful and redolent, "The Love Truck" is the slightly more mellower of the two, destined for late afternoon / early evening when a red hue tinges the air and the hustle and bustle of day gives way to a more languid and atmospheric mood. "Pick Up" on the other hand is a spellbound piece made up of intricate disco loops and reinforced with house drums; one to get the whole field rocking towards the end of a headlining set; a closing centre piece to elevate them into the sky.

STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Refreshing and a glimpse of hope shines through the boxes of records we open on a daily basis when you know that Stefan Kozalla is there. I have been in love with this man's music since I was 22 and I purchased a mixed CD by him convolutingly called 'Music is OK'. He brought humour to electronic music, hip hop and later on onto house! You can't go wrong with the house experimentalist that is DJ Koze. A true provocateur and gender bending master. On this supwerb 12'' you get two cuts of the highest caliber (those who stand the passage of time gracefully - not many do!) on the also great Pampa label. Years pass by, the man gets older but also wiser. A Side offering 'Pick Up' is peak time disco house tune, but me, the introspective and complex soul I am, I lean towards 'The Love Truck' with its atonal and asyncopated sensual beats that bar Dj Koze few tend to play with. Ladies and you too, gents... this is my 12" of the week.

Pampa Records are touched to finally present you 'Pampa Vol. 1'. When Pampa decided to go for a label compilation their main goal was: Every single song has to be a star! For two years the label kept chasing and squeezing the best out of their good friends and artists they admired until they now finally have what they dreamed of at the beginning: A Firmament of Stars.

The first ever Pampa compilation which took the label nearly two years to finish.
All tracks have been produced exclusively for this compilation and haven’t been released before. The compilation includes high profile artists such as Grammy award winner Jamie XX (of The XX), DJ Koze, Matthew Herbert, Lianne le Havas, Isolée, Acid Pauli, Michel Cleis, Sophie Hunger among many more.



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The whole package so to speak. Our free ‘End of Year Review’ which you can find in various parts of the shop. Plus… https://t.co/zypjy37Xe5
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