Justus Köhncke | Doppelleben
Kompakt | CD
Justus Köhncke's much-anticipated third album for Kompakt follows a lengthy string of heavyweight vinyl slabs overflowing with robust rhythms. Lovers of Kompakt's finely honed, softened teutonic minimalism will relish 'Doppelleben's' twelve tracks which see Köhncke changing gear from some of his heavier 12" material (2001's 'Jet/Shelter' in particular) to a series of more delicate pop-inflected grooves.
Köhncke's effortless marriage of minimal click house with golden era disco bears witness to a formidable talent behind a set of decks. The sheer range of the album is breathtaking, taking in everything from brittle house to a peculiarly German take on pop music that might one day adorn a chart of the future.
The unashamedly funk-soaked house of 'Schwabylon' is a high point, clipped beats in true Kompakt style overlaid with Daft Punk'esque vocoded voiceover – "I'll do it as long as I can dance to it..." – this is no-holds-barred, hands-in-the-air, click-house. The sound of Köhncke letting go and relishing an unrelenting groove.
Hot on its heels, 'Wo Bist Du' couples swaying disco lines with gentle German vocals that unfold over two lazy minutes until a perfectly placed key change, mid-song, slides the track into hypnotic almost-reverse.
'Elan' – a previous 12" – forms an enviable core, eight minutes of tightly controlled disco evangelism and trickling instrumental house, drawing together textures seemingly bled from the very heart of software sequencers (it's no surprise to see a Native Instruments logo adorning the artwork). A slow build gives way to the liquid funk that characterises Kompakt's idiosyncratic take on minimal house, until Köhncke delicately bounces a mesmerising beat around a room soaked in echo. Bliss.
A minimal, understated classic, right at home on Kompakt.