Justus Köhncke, Timecode Remixe


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Justus Köhncke is one of the more contradictory figures in the Kompakt stable. Not one to take himself too seriously, he’s released everything from an Italian number-one hit in the 90s with Whirlpool Productions’ “From: Disco To: Disco” to a couple of well-received albums on Kompakt a decade later, all seemingly without catering to any tastes but his own. His production style has naturally evolved over his career, but at its core, it’s a mixture of hygienic professionalism and the kind of unselfconscious impulsiveness that allowed him to sing, on debut album Spiralen Der Erinnerung, Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” like a tipsy IT guy doing his best Jarvis Cocker. And yet he’s just as capable of the unreproachable elegance of “Yacht,” from 2008’s Safe and Sound.

Considering the low profile Köhncke has kept since his last album, there’s no obvious motivation behind this “Timecode” remix package. First released in 2004, the original’s tidy, synthetic disco doesn’t have much bearing on current trends, nor does it seem like Köhncke is exactly in line for auteur-ification. Indeed, “Timecode” is unassuming for a classic, and for those who know Köhncke’s albums, a single track from the intriguingly uneven producer feels like an incomplete experience.  Its disco bass line — lifted from Lipps, Inc.’s “How Long” — is efficiently funky, the trademarked image of Kompakt’s springy minimalism circa the mid-2000s. It’s not exactly a bracing sound in 2013, however, and the fact of its reissue doesn’t reveal a depth that hasn’t been explored before.

By default, both remixes feel more urgent than the original, although neither changes the script too much. Tyree Cooper realizes a grittier, more jacking potential to the track: leaving no 808 step unmolested, his remix is a sculpted piano-house barrage of toms, cowbells, cymbals, and sudden drop-outs, but it’s the way Cooper flips the bass line that gives it new life. Studio Barnhus’s Axel Boman does less to change the basic formula, moving between a streamlined, aquatic recasting of the original and delay-soaked breaks. As the ticking clock in “Timecode” reminds us, the last decade has been reasonably kind to Köhncke’s music, but here its agelessness is not that of eternally great things. The passage of time has simply maintained rather than enriched it.

stef  on February 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

If I’m not mistaken, that’s a pure TR707 beat all the way and it sounds great.

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