- A sort of electronic supercollective, Cologne Tape shaped spontaneously from shared musical tastes, a sense of community for a city losing so many of its dance producers to Berlin in recent years and, well, artists finding themselves in the same space—both head- and physical. Intended as an informal ode to Cologne's deep roots in the last 50+ years of German dance, psychedelic and kosmische music, the project assembled artists as varied as Ada, Axel Willner (The Field), Jorg Burger, Jens-Uwe Beyer (Popnoname), John Harten, Philipp Janzen (Von Spar), Daniel Ansorge, Battles' drummer John Stanier and a host of others sneaking in and out of sessions.
The group's first EP, Render, also marks the first release for the emergent Kompakt-distributed label, Magazine. Formed by local artists Barnt, Crato, and PNN—all of whom contribute here—the label seeks to meld the artwork, packaging and musical elements of their releases to reembrace the physical product against an increasingly digital industry.
As for the music itself, Render's five tracks run 37 total minutes, headily exploring the foundational sub-genres of traditional Krautrock; there's the gauzy ambient-techno of "Render 4"; the lazy-day kosmische of "Render 2"; and the noodly, vocal-laced space rock of "Render 3." But it's on the penultimate track, "Render 5," where one begins to sense the mutual awareness and confidence developing between the various players. Anchored by one of Janzen's muscular motorik beats and a cascading bass pattern, Cologne Tape intersects droning, rhythmic guitars, vocal blurts and several interlaced synth melodies into a propulsive highway jam that sounds something like Neu! with Jaki Leibezeit behind the kit.
It's easily both the record's most forceful and most exploratory outing. If there's sometimes a hesitant quality to some of Render, it's understandable. One senses the group is still feeling their way around each other; they're coming to know tendencies, paces, where to fill the gaps sonically. With a full LP due sometime next year though, Cologne Tape has plenty of time to get to know itself as a gathering; I expect big things.
01. Render 1
02. Render 2 (Magazine Edit)
03. Render 3
04. Render 4
05. Render 5