Music Reviews

Contributors: Ruben de la Huerga & Erika Hurth

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Amygdala

by Ruben de la Huerga

This album got me through final exams; it doesn’t get more magical than that. The melodic house music of Amygdala was a surprise hit for me. Despite my initial hatred of the album art, this is possibly the only album I fell for this year. I even warmed to the art once I had more of a grasp of DJ Koze’s personality. That this is near-perfect music for studying is not the main reason I’m so head over heels for this album. Its power lies in the youthful feelings of wonderment it stirs up. Each track has a moment that takes the listener further down the rabbit hole. There are the chimes at the beginning of “Track ID Anyone?,” the climactic cymbal crashes of “Nices Wolkchen” fading into wispy and beautifully effected synths, the painful anticipation of the first chord change on “Royal Asscher Cut,” and those fantastic sax squelches of “Magical Boy.” 

The Marvin Gaye sample on “Das Wort” somehow finds Gaye sounding at home within German electronic music. And his lyrics are quite telling for Amygdala, “We’re all sensitive people / with so much to give.” This sensitivity and positivity is embraced all over Amygdala, making it more positive than the latest output from Lil B, the inventor of positivity himself. 

Which brings us to “Homesick,” which would possibly be my favorite song of the year if I felt like making such a list. I never really experienced homesickness until this year. Away at college, dealing with a half breakup, this song somehow got shuffled on. I don’t mean to make this a diary, but I cried so hard upon hearing it. “Homesick / ‘Cause I no longer know / Where home is,” was unfathomably affecting. Yet, with how joyous the song sounds, it turns the situation into a bittersweet tragedy as opposed to just moping. That strength in the face of sadness is inspiring. 

This is one of the most uplifting albums I know. But that alone is not the reason that this is one of the strongest records to come out of 2013. Amygdala is simply immaculately produced. Every single element within these songs sounds completely full. This album could not have been mixed better. At the moment, DJ Koze truly has no superior when it comes to music production of this genre. His beauty, creativity and humor are without rival. Amygdala is an album to remind us of why we fell in love with electronic music in the first place.