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.
Sat / 25 Jul 2015
02. Talbot feat. Gregor Schwellenbach
04. Two Birds
06. The Road feat. Gregor Schwellenbach
07. Cassiopeia feat. Gregor Schwellenbach
09. Die Anderen
10. Bloodline feat. Tomas Høffding of WhoMadeWho
13. Papageno 30 Years Later feat. Waa Industry