Saturday, September 8, 2007

Recently Played: Justus Köhncke Vs. Prins Thomas - Elan

And so it happens, as it perhaps it must, that the two most prominent strains of Euro disco revival intersect. The Norwegians, with their sci-fi Italo flavor, versus the Germans, with their epic bridges and bildungsroman techno structures. But more than a simple overlapping of styles, it is, in the specific, Prins Thomas' inspired interpretation of Justus Köhncke's 2005 techno anthem “Elan” with live strings, noodling bass guitar, and what I can only assume is manual percussion. But simply bringing in live instrumentation wouldn't make for much to talk about. As in the best remixes, it's the differences of vision that stand out. These two find a point of rendezvous quite close to classic disco, and yet the valiant Prins sneaks melancholy and even foreboding into Köhncke's sweaty, ecstatic pot-boiler through a gap widened by the re(re)rediscovery of Arthur Russell, the grave string arrangement bringing to mind not so much Chic as Godspeed You Black Emperor (insert exclamation point wherever you like).

On the flip, Prins Thomas fidgets with Köhncke's “Advance,” from 2006. In this case, the differences with the original are minor, not really reframing the song in any substantial way. A nice alternate mix for the devotee, though. Rounding the disc out is a new Köhncke original, “Tilda,” which rests rather on the other end of the techno spectrum. Certainly not one of his more dance floor targeted tracks, it's as though he's reminding us that his palette is more complex than simply as an embrace of the “Good Times” (though probably he'd retort that there's nothing “simple” 'bout that at all).

This fine product of Köln can be purchased for a thoroughly reasonable price at Kompakt's mp3 store. And for a limited time, you can enjoy this here:

Justus Köhncke Vs. Prins Thomas – Elan

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