One of dance music's biggest names returns to a storied label.
Kölsch - Speicher 106
There aren't many Kompakt tunes I'd describe as "bombs," which makes the B-side of Kölsch's new EP particularly exciting. An acidic weapon with growling synths and a tunnelling groove, "Little Death" is the kind of track that energises a peak-time dance floor within seconds of being mixed in. Somewhere between Afterlife and mean acid house, it carries some of the hallmarks of modern big-room dance music—moments of melancholy, big drops—but the mood is upbeat and the groove stays steady. Choral vocals make the track especially appropriate for main stage, but Kölsch shows some restraint, teasing them in and out while hi-hats go haywire. Showing the power of nuance, it's a great follow-up to Michael Mayer's "See You," a by-the-numbers Kompakt record that highlighted the worst side of big-room techno.
"Emoticon" is similarly nuanced but is ruined by a grating Ed Banger-style melody. It clashes with the tropical samples and percussion so much that it makes you wonder what Kölsch was thinking by including it. It's hard to think of a 2018 dance floor that would enjoy that kind of sound.