Now Here No Where


On his fourth album proper, Now Here No Where, Danish producer Kölsch (aka Rune Reilly Kölsch) is charting new terrain. Fans of his "years trilogy" -- 1977 (KOM 276LP/KOMP 107CD), 1983 (KOM 329LP/KOMP 122CD), and 1989 (KOM 373LP/KOMP 139CD) released on Kompakt over the past decade -- were privy to a kind of sonic diary, an autobiography, tracking the artist's early years through three albums of superior, meticulously rendered techno. Calling in collaborators where needed -- most notably, the strings of Gregor Schwellenbach -- there was still something deeply personal going down, not quite hermetic, but internally focused; the albums proved not only Kölsch's mastery of his chosen form, but also his capacity to make techno personal, individual, and to trace histories of the self through music. But on Now Here No Where, Kölsch finds his feet firmly planted in the present. For Kölsch, this makes Nowhere Now Here "an album about life in the year 2020. A time defined by confusion, misinformation and environmental challenges." Kölsch does this with music that effortlessly balances emotional heft with the dancefloor's brimming desires. It's a space that Kölsch has navigated for a while now -- one of techno's breakthrough acts -- but Now Here No Where ratchets up the lushness, making for a delirious drift across twelve tracks that are at once perfectly poised and deeply trippy. "Great Escape" is an elegant swoon, an opener that pivots on a sigh and a prayer; then "Shoulder Of Giants" bustles into view, subliminal clatter and an aching violin line giving way to a riff that glows with fluorescence and iridescence. "Remind You" combines an odd ECM jazziness with notes from a 21st century torch song; "Sleeper Must Awaken" mines huge buzzing synths and lets them float, in and out of sync, with reduced, ticking beats; "Traumfabrik" (dream factory) is oddly lush, the tones malleable and plastic, morphing across a glitching undertow. There are sad, emotional washes of strings throughout the penultimate "While Waiting For Something To Care About", while the patterns of "Romtech User Manual" twist and shape in the light. Throughout, Kölsch never keeps his eye off the dancefloor, and you can tell this is his still his home. The club as a temporary autonomous zone, as a space both of freedom and of politics; somehow, that's all here, Now Here No Where.