Album Review: Kölsch / ‘1977’ (Kompakt)

kolsch 1977


On potentially the biggest EDM LP of the year, Kölsch practises stadium scales as a keyboard lesson warm-up, taking further liberties when the breakdowns to “Bappedekkel” and “Loreley” seem to be played left-handed. If you’re pro chemical reactions under the sun, 1977 is a year you’ll always remember. If you break down the mechanics, it’s just another EDM album from someone who isn’t plastered all over MTV.

This is surely forthcoming, given the Swedish House Mafia/Armin van Buuren-like “All That Matters”, the album’s only vocal track. European rule bakes the LP with a thin cheese crust, giving you a stereotyped cultural appendix to an EDM/trance step-by-step. Reference points are obvious throughout, loading 8-bits many a time, reigniting the spirit of “Strings of Life” on “Der Alte”, though a good piano track will never go out of fashion. Tunnel rusher “Basshund” firms up a Mylo pressure drop, “Zig” & “Loreley” have posters of Xpansions and Southside Spinners on their wall, and “Eiswinter’s” dirt bike bass, the one-time Kölsch swishes about in the gutter, rides dirty to Hervé’s “Better than a BMX.”

Defending Kölsch, his sound is allowed to generate and find a way rather than immediately look for the payoff, making the ensuing pyrotechnics, shall we say, slightly less silicone-based. While swinging the keys to a church of easy access euphoria, it’s a small token to bear in mind when you’ve written him off into the EDM flock.

File under: Gui Boratto, Benny Benassi, Tiësto

Kompakt Records Launching 20th Anniversary Pop-Up Store at Ableton’s Berlin HQ

kompakt records logo

Presently taking a much-deserved victory lap in lieu of its 20th anniversary taking place this year, Cologne, Germany-based label Kompakt Records — the imprint founded by Michael Mayer, Jürgen Paape and Wolfgang Voigt — will mark two decades by setting up a pop-up store within Ableton’s Berlin-based office. A week-long series of events running August 31 to September 7, Kompakt and notable Ableton artists will be on hand for a series of performances, DJ sets, presentations and workshops — all of them free and open to the public. The festivities take place in conjunction with Torstrassen Festival and will remain open until September 7, coinciding with Berlin Music Week.

Compilation Review: ’20 Jahre Kompakt, Kollektion 1′ (Kompakt)

20 Jahre Kompakt, Kollektion 1


Well done to those charged with whittling down the electronic titan’s platinum anniversary down to just two discs — let’s also hope part 1 actually means there will be a part 2. Should your opinion of German labels be a stale cliché — maybe it’s those hard Ks in the name lending themselves to straight-talking effectiveness/ruthlessness — you’ll be thrilled by the automation of Justus Köhncke, Leandro Fresco and Dettinger, though perhaps less enamoured with little flits of the flatter that include Matias Aguayo’s “Walter Neff” not seeming to fit in anywhere.

Those knowing Kompakt’s creativity are offered the sumptuously funky (Aguayo via DJ Koze) as a smooth veil to the mechanised edges and components, found in the everlasting chugs of Voigt & Voigt’s disco-techno “Vision 03” and The Field’s “Over the Ice”. Minimalist techno tradition is held close, done as an all-for-one, inclusive against narrow-minded span. Out of Michael Mayer’s good n itchy deep houser “Lovefood,” comes the crossover-ready “Transient” by Pluxus and its snooping Ford tie-in, and Heiko Voss hankering for a hammock gives the collection quite a head-in-the-clouds headstart.

The excellent disc two gets down to business with techno for the head while leaving your heart heaving. It becomes a battle and balance between light and heavy (of which John Tejada is the most brutal), organic and automated (Rex the Dog getting synths to squirt and stun), and the freedom and focus of The Rice Twins, Jonas Bering, Kaito, Lawrence, GusGus and Gui Boratto.

File under: Jurgen Paape, Superpitcher, Terranova