- Justus Köhncke is the kind of free spirit who frustrates even his own fans. The Kompakt mainstay has consistently split opinion with his vocal style, his feather-light disco tracks and the mischievous nature of his left-field house. Justus Köhncke & The Wonderful Frequency Band, his first album in five years, will likely be just as divisive. Köhncke is a serious musician, but he has little time for accepted notions of good taste. Humour is key to his work. Consider the artwork here, which shows him dressed as a one-man techno band, or the album's closing track, a dire, syrupy electro-pop cover of The Foundations' "Now That I Found You."
To really enjoy Köhncke, you have to accept that his ouptut is patchy. Here, for instance, one must tolerate the self-indulgent "Wonderful Frequency Band" (a tribute-cum-imitation of '70s easy listening) to get to the fantastic "Loop," a bumpy 808 acid track, counter-intuitively laced with a gorgeous melody.
As ever, though, when Köhncke hits his mark, he's great. With his dulcet voice brought to the fore, "Idee, Prozess, Ergebnis" and "Das Selbstgespräch" see him injecting his polished disco with a little electro-pop muscle. The former echoes Hot Chip's tightly wound funk, while the latter is a more retro affair, shot through with monumental synth stabs that recall Pet Shop Boys.
Köhncke seems to have quietly beefed up his sound all around. Take "Tell Me," a track featuring Eric D. Clark (Köhncke's old Whirlpool Productions partner) whose cashmere soft keys are offset by a blubbery bassline and punchy drums. You'll have to cherry-pick the best moments from Wonderful Frequency Band, but that's Justus Köhncke. He may bemuse you, but you can never write him off.
01. Flitter Und Tand
02. Tell Me
03. Das Selbstgesprach
04. A New Direction
05. Wonderful Frequency Band
06. Idee, Prozess, Ergebnis
09. Nucleus Accumbens
10. Now That I Found You