We all know and love that certain ‘sound’ associated with Cologne label releases – the spacious techno sonic ethos Traum and Kompakt have stuck to over the years, toying with accessible melodies whilst, for the most, avoiding overt experimental distortion territory. ‘Ki’ is also Cologne based, a label co-founded by Christian Löffler with a varied discography, and where we find “Young Alaska” slipping very pleasingly into that Cologne sound template, albeit with a slightly more dusty aesthetic.
Christian Löffler aims to make music that ‘combines melancholy with euphoria’ and listening to ‘Mt Grace‘ and ‘Notes’, it’s only fair to agree with this statement. Built around constructions of starry eyed melodies underpinned with a solid dance floor aesthetic, these are productions that feel simultaneously widescreen yet sparse. With arrangements elegant in their simplicity yet rich in textural detail, Löffler conveys an emotive beauty using varying repetitive vocal samples, angelic glassy lead lines, humming bass progressions and crackling background atmospherics. ‘Beirut‘ and ‘Roman‘ follow similar paths of low slung subdued techno, the latter in particular firing off musical memory synapses I can’t quite place but thoroughly enjoy re-visiting.
The final third of the album slows things down, pulling off a sublime collision of 4/4 and piano in ‘Veiled Grey‘ with the lovely ‘Alpine Sketch‘- a solus piano piece to rival Jon Hopkins and Nils Frahm – as album closer. If you enjoyed Loffler’s previous album ‘A Forest‘ you will undoubtedly find this a suitably excellent listen – it’s very much a progression of similar sonic trajectories rather than step change in direction. For all those new to his work who are fans of Traum, Kompakt and the likes of Rone, Max Cooper and the aforementioned ivory tinklers – this comes thoroughly recommended too.