Justus Köhncke

 

Tuesday 21st January 2014
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JUSTUS KÖHNCKE & THE WONDERFUL FREQUENCY BAND - his first major release in five years after SAFE AND SOUND (Kompakt CD 63) - is JUSTUS KÖHNCKE's long-awaited return to the full-length format: neatly coinciding with Kompakt's exuberant 20th anniversary activities, the leftfield house virtuoso, former Whirlpool Productions member (see "From: Disco To: Disco") and producer of seminal cuts such as "Was Ist Musik", "2 After 909" or "Timecode" hits the floors with an entirely new set of future classics, remedying desolate crowds in dire need of a party to remember.

A format the artist evidently feels most comfortable with, albums prove especially well suited for the quirky detours and iconoclast tropes that oneman-band JUSTUS KÖHNCKE likes to weave into his disco narrative. It's with JUSTUS KÖHNCKE & THE WONDERFUL FREQUENCY BAND however, that Kompakt's leading dance music troubadour might just have trumped himself: over the course of 10 lushly twinkling tracks, he plots a perfect party scenario full of bright starbursts and crisp optimism. "Hello, come on in" says a voice at the beginning of opener FLITTER UND TAND ("frippery and kitsch"), and it happens to be accompanied by one of the slickest basslines to ever come out of Justus' studio, making this an offer you simply can't refuse.

Once inside, you'll find the party in full swing with the opener's bleepy boogie ingenuity giving way to the sensual thrust of disco bait TELL ME (featuring Whirpool Productions buddy ERIC D. CLARK), the introspective vocal cut DAS SELBSTGESPRÄCH ("the soliloquy") and sparkling house manifesto NEW DIRECTION. Emotional (and numerical) centerpiece is WONDERFUL FREQUENCY BAND, a lovestruck tribute to Burt Bacharach and the golden age of songwriting. This immensely infatuating pop operetta, a collaboration with Mouse On Mars' ANDI TOMA, finds JUSTUS KÖHNCKE's composing prowess peaking yet again, a veritable paradigm shift in the album's dramaturgy that allows for successor IDEE, PROZESS, ERGEBNIS ("idea, process, result") to break into a different gallopp and boost its lyrical dancefloor musings with fusionist techno.

A stroke of utter club genius comes in form of uptempo acid ballad LOOP that bolsters its hopelessly romantic vocals with raw Chicago beats and an achingly beautiful melody. Hot on the heels of love, it's another massive showstopper before the album's final triptych is introduced with sonic trompe l'oeil UNAUFMERKSAMKEITSBLINDHEIT ("inattentional blindness"), an uncanny cross-breed from the master of interspecific hybridization. Manic banger NUCLEUS ACCUMBENS – the area of the human brain that plays a leading role in reward, pleasure, addiction and impulsivity - torches the last car of the night, followed by vocoder aria NOW THAT I FOUND YOU, the cover of a cover (the original inspiration being Nashville country star Allison Krauss covering northern soul legends The Foundations) and an appropriately dreamy conclusion to a genre-bending record full of magic and wonder.

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