Kölsch - 1983

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  • Rune Reilly Kölsch is a curious figure. The veteran producer has dabbled in everything from pop to dancehall, and his studio prowess is such that at times he shifts gears with a smoothness that almost feels glib. He also knocks out melodic and highly functional DJ tools; on his latest album, 1983, the Gui Boratto-ish "Two Birds" and the purring electro-house of "Unterwegs" set button-pushing professionalism at odds with Kölsch's claim that he writes from the heart. Perhaps the sentimental, indie-flecked vocal-house on "Bloodline" is an overture for a mainstream crowd who might otherwise ignore his music. Like its predecessor, 1977, this album's main takeaway isn't so much the obvious stuff, but rather the way Kölsch uses strange dissonance to take his big-room techno to more enigmatic, emotional places. Just listen to Waa Industry's warbling vocal on the fraught, dubby ballad "Papageno 30 Years Later," or how frequently he uses composer and multi-instrumentalist Gregor Schwellenbach's sad, astringent string arrangements. Many electronic producers claim their albums have themes, but few can evoke a sense of faded nostalgia like Kölsch can through sound design and wistful melodies. 1983 was inspired by the Dane's memories of family driving holidays—in his use of corroded textures, cassette hiss and sombre, pre-digital strings, he catapults you back 30-plus years. Even without the context, though, his best tracks soar. "Pacer" is a Todd Terje-like fandango of retro synths, its effervescence cut by an undertow of sweet, gentle mournfulness. The mighty "Die Anderen" is an end-of-the-night watershed built from layers of meditative choral bass and entropic piano. It's proof that, though he may occasionally lapse into rote functionality, Kölsch can conjure moments of real magic.
  • Tracklist
      01. 1983 02. Talbot feat. Gregor Schwellenbach 03. Moonface 04. Two Birds 05. Pacer 06. The Road feat. Gregor Schwellenbach 07. Cassiopeia feat. Gregor Schwellenbach 08. DerDieDas 09. Die Anderen 10. Bloodline feat. Tomas Høffding of WhoMadeWho 11. Unterwegs 12. E45 13. Papageno 30 Years Later feat. Waa Industry