Danish native and highly-revered producer Rune Reilly, better known as Kölsch, delivered the final installment in his autobiographical album trilogy for Kompact Records, 1989.
In the record, Reilly’s finely tuned techno craftsmanship is met with a newfound emotive elevation of his artistic output into a deeply impassioned epic.
Kölsch began the Kompact series with early childhood memories and influences on 1977—his birth year–and delivered the second installment, 1983 as a vibrant and picturesque journey sound tracking the year he traveled through Europe as a child.
Now, on 1989, Kölsch delves into his early teens. Years he’s described publicly as quite difficult, explaining: “…I mostly just remember the greyness of it all – grey feelings, grey weather and my own grey face.”
Outside of navigating the trials and tribulations that come with teenage years, Reily’s parents also divorced that year.
“I would escape that grey world on my skateboard, listen to my Walkman as I explored the city around me. Music became my savior – the only way to overcome my family’s hard times. I found a soundtrack to my grey life, and suddenly there was color.”
Reilly’s affinity towards grey feelings in this time may also offer an explanation as to why several of the tracks on the album are named “grey,” albeit in a hand full of different languages.
1989 is truly an ascension in the techno reigns for Reilly. Within its sonic landscape is an intensified deployment of real-life orchestral sounds and the continuation of a longtime collaboration with composer Gregor Schwellenbach. Considering Kölsch’s propensity for vivacious vocalist cameos on his albums, it’s hardly a surprise to find that the hauntingly beautiful track “In Bottles” features Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora Aksnes.
With as timeless an output as Reilly has had, expectations were high for 1989. Keeping the iconic tracks like “Loreley”, “Der Alte”, “DerDieDas” or “Cassiopeia” in mind, it’s a wonder how on 1989, he occupies a sonic space that’s somehow even more beautiful. But it is with this sonic marriage in mind, of both classical and contemporary techno elements, that Reilly has achieved the record’s greatest impact.
He’s mastered the old, so it’s only right that he dominate the new, too.