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by Kölsch

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For Danish native and much-revered producer/performer Rune Reilly KÖLSCH, Kompakt has proven the perfect home curating his music: with two critically acclaimed albums and a now classic run of solo instalments in our Speicher 12” series, he took his techno craftsmanship to new levels, setting it on a melodic, emotive and even autobiographical course - without loosing any of its punch and quirkiness. With new full-length 1989, Kölsch presents the final chapter of an elegant, anthemic album trilogy that started with an exploration of early childhood memories and influences on “1977” (KOM 276 CD 107) - the year of his birth – and continued on “1983” KOM 329 CD 122), a vibrant and picturesque journey sound tracking the year he travelled through Europe aged six.

“With 1989, we have arrived in my early teens”, Kölsch explains, “a difficult time in my life, where I mostly just remember the greyness of it all – grey feelings, grey weather and my own grey face.” Coinciding with the already challenging need to squeeze past the bottleneck of puberty, it was a time of seething family crisis – his parents were divorcing: “I would escape that grey world on my skateboard, listen to my Walkman as I explored the city around me. Music became my savior – the only way to overcome my family’s hard times. I found a soundtrack to my grey life, and suddenly there was color.” It’s why you’ll find several tracks on the album being named “grey” in different languages, and they all share this distinctly “Kölsch-esque” moment of epic melodies breaking through propulsive techno beats like the sun through stormy clouds – a musical twist that’s particularly impressive on album hit single PUSH, first heard on “Speicher 97” (KOM EX 97).

1989 marks also Kölsch’s intensified deployment of real-life orchestral sounds and the conitunation of his extremely fruitful collab with Gregor Schwellenbach: after contributing to predecessor album “1983”, the Kompakt affiliate, composer and multi- instrumentalist now conducts the Heritage Orchestra for tracks KHAIRO, LIATH (featuring a violin solo by Kate Robinson) and SERJI, the latter of which Schwellenbach co-wrote and co-produced. The 24-person Heritage Orchstra consists of violins, violas, cellos and double basses, adding the sweeping drama and organic, richly layered textures that only real strings can produce – a deeply humane tone that is set with the album’s opening recording of the orchestra tuning its instruments (which incidentally also incorporates a voice recording from 1989 of Rune Reilly’s grandfather Ludwig). Seeing Kölsch’s propensity for vocalist cameos on his albums (Trœls Abrahamsen on “1977”, Tomas Høffding and Waa Industry on “1983”), one shouldn’t be surprised to find beautiful cut IN BOTTLES, which features vocals written and performed by Aurora Aksnes.

After having produced such timeless tracks as “Loreley”, “Der Alte”, “DerDieDas” or “Cassiopeia”, expectations for new Kölsch material are expectably high – “there’s no doubting Kölsch’s mastery”, concluded Pitchfork when reviewing sophomore album “1983”, while Resident Advisor observed that “many electronic producers claim their albums have themes, but few can evoke a sense of faded nostalgia like Kölsch”, conjuring “moments of real magic”. 1989 certainly delivers on all of these fronts, engulfing the listener from the outset with its sonic coupling of classical composition and contemporary production – without sacrificing the impact on the dance floor: “despite its melancholy undercurrents”, Pitchfork finds Kölsch’s music to be looking “to dance for catharsis”. It’s how the Danish artist was able to inititate a head-turning run of global domination with his touring around the globe, remixes of Sven Väth, Flume and Coldplay, Ibiza commitments and his own BBC Radio 1 Residency radio show. Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac maybe put it simplest, noting “that man is sort of king when it comes to pianos and house music. He’s got a way of wrenching your emotions.”


released September 22, 2017


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